The Summerland Advocate-Messenger - Reliable, Trustworthy Reporting, Capturing The Heartbeat Of Our Community

Author photo

By Sandy Schroth

Eighteen-year-old admits animal mistreatment at Neligh motel, felony charges deferred to Cedar County


November 10, 2022

The Honorable Mark Johnson heard some Antelope County district court cases at the Madison County courthouse Friday, Nov. 4 due to Antelope County public defender Pat Carney of Norfolk being unavailable during Antelope County district court proceedings Oct. 26.

The parties waived venue for the hearings. Carney and Antelope County Attorney Joe Abler both appeared in the Madison courtroom. Steven H. Habegger, 18, Antelope County Jail, appeared for pretrial hearing by videoconference from the Antelope County Jail for pretrial conference on four counts, a Class 3A felony, child abuse, alleged Feb. 10 at a Neligh motel, along with three Class 1 misdemeanors, contributing to delinquency of a child, debauching a minor and cruel mistreatment of an animal.

A plea agreement was announced. Habegger pleaded guilty to the animal mistreatment charge and Abler agreed to dismiss the remaining counts and to recommend a sentence of time already served in the county jail.

Johnson sentenced Habegger to 270 days in the ACJ, with costs to be satisfied by sitting out. The judge exonerated his $100,000 Antelope County bond.

Meanwhile, related charges were filed against Habegger by Cedar County attorney Nicholas Matney on June 8, including six felonies alleged in December 2021 with the same alleged victim as the Antelope County case. Charges include first degree sexual assault, visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct, child enticement, child abuse, tampering with a witness and tampering with physical evidence, along with a Class 1 misdemeanor, contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Habegger was bound over to Cedar County district court, where he pleaded not guilty, with pretrial conference set Nov. 28. Bond was set at $175,000, 10% July 6 in the county court, according to the Cedar County attorney's office.

According to an affidavit filed in Cedar County by a Nebraska State Patrol investigator, the defendant and the alleged victim met on the internet about a year before he traveled from his Montana home to Creighton to meet her. The first sexual encounter was alleged at a Hartington hotel in December 2021. When the alleged victim later moved to Antelope County, he allegedly followed and was staying at a Neligh motel, where the Antelope County charges were alleged. According to the affidavit, although the girl initially told him she was 16, he was aware that she was 12 years old at the time of the Nebraska encounters.

In other Antelope County cases heard by Johnson on Friday;

Haiden Sleister appeared by videoconference for pretrial hearing on two counts alleged between March 19 and April 6, possession of a stolen firearm, a Class 2A felony, and theft, $500-$1,499, a Class 1 misdemeanor. He withdrew his not guilty pleas and pleaded guilty to an amended Count I, attempted possession of a stolen firearm. Abler dismissed Count II pursuant to a plea agreement. Abler also agreed to file no further charges related to the incident. Sleister was ordered to appear in the Antelope County district courtroom Jan. 25, 2023, for sentencing. Johnson set bond at $25,000 personal recognizance and ordered Sleister to reside at his father’s Oakdale residence and nowhere else without permission of the court.

Michael F. Doty, 29, of Page was granted continuances of his pretrial hearing and jury trial to Jan. 25 and Feb. 14, 2023, respectively. He is charged with two Class 3A felony counts of making terroristic threats and a Class 3 misdemeanor count of disturbing the peace, all alleged June 28 in Orchard, following a residential fire in Page. Bond is continued as previously ordered. It was modified Sept. 28, to personal recognizance while participating/residing at Anchor House transitional living facility. Bond was to be reinstated at $20,000, 10% cash, if he leaves Anchor House for any reason.

Darrion J. Cescolini, 28, of Denver, Colorado, did not appear for his pretrial hearing on two counts, a Class 2A felony, possession of heroin with intent to deliver, and a Class 4 felony, possession of heroin, both alleged Feb. 12 east of Brunswick. Pretrial hearing is continued to Dec. 21.


Reader Comments(0)


Powered by ROAR Online Publication Software from Lions Light Corporation
© Copyright 2023

Rendered 02/14/2023 13:13