Sentencing; case updates

A York teenager was sentenced to probation, several other cases made little progress and three more felony cases were bound over in recent action in the Fillmore County District Court.

Julia A. Kelly, 19, formerly of McCool Junction and now of York, was sentenced to two concurrent 24-month probation terms by Fillmore County District Court Judge Vicky Johnson last month for two misdemeanor counts that were originally felonies but reduced in a plea agreement.  Terms of probation include participating/completing RISE program, moral recognition therapy, mental health evaluation, following recommendation of evaluators, $30 probation enrollment fee, $120 chemical-testing fees, $10 offender assessment, completing 10 hours of public service per week if not employed, restitution amounts of $250, $315.27 and $72.50 to three victims in the cases and $204.81 in court costs.

Prior to sentencing, Judge Johnson commented that Kelly’s pre-sentence investigation report is “not that flattering.” The judge also acknowledged that Kelly experienced a troubled upbringing and several juvenile cases could be considered not really her fault.

“You need to find things to keep you out of trouble,” Johnson said.

According to court records, Kelly and a co-defendant broke into a home in rural Ohiowa on May 10, 2014.  While there, several items were damaged and removed at the location.  Kelly had recently ended a relationship with one of the renters of the house at the location.
Other October court action included:

• At an October 13 pretrial hearing, attorney for Anthony R. Long, 24, currently incarcerated, Lyle J. Koenig told Judge Johnson the State Attorney General’s Office had offered his client a plea agreement offer that was subsequently rejected.  He said he had made a counter offer on October 13.  Koenig then reiterated his notion that the case will move to trial and he would be filing several motions including finding experts in shaken-baby syndrome and familiarity with baby deaths.  These motions were filed by October 23.

State Attorney General Office lawyers attempted to enter mental-health evaluations and other information indicating the competency of Long being able to, ultimately, be competent (sane) to stand trial.  Judge Johnson did not receive the exhibits and noted they are not relevant until such time as all plea agreement efforts are exhausted and the case definitely proceeds to trial.

Assuming the Class 1B and Class 2 felony charges, punishable by 15 years to life and up to 50 years in prison, respectively, move on to trial, the attorneys in the case estimated the trial would take one week in length.  Judge Johnson assigned February 22, 2016, at 9 a.m., for the trail to begin.  A pretrial hearing date was slated for January 12, 2016, at 9:45 a.m.

• The pretrial hearing for a felony case against Manuel P. Swartz, Jr., 19, of Grand Island was extended until November 10, at 9:45 a.m.  Attorneys in the case commented a plea agreement is being worked on and Judge Johnson gave November 10 as a drop-dead date for a potential plea agreement.

• The pretrial hearing for a felony case against Tanner Barbur, 23, of Geneva was extended until November 10, at 9:45 a.m.  Attorneys in the case commented a plea agreement is being worked on and Judge Johnson gave November 10 as a drop-dead date for a potential plea agreement.

• Natasha Lynn Quigley, 23, of Ohiowa was arraigned in district court on the Class IV felony count of 3rd degree domestic assault—subsequent offense. After a plea of not-guilty was accepted, a pretrial hearing was slated for December 8 at 9:45 a.m.

• Aliyana Hamilton, 18, currently incarcerated, appeared for arraignment on two Class III felony charges.  The cases were continued until November 10 at 9:45 a.m.

Also in October, two men and one woman had felony cases bound over from the Fillmore County Court to the Fillmore County District Court.

• Travis D. Stierlen, 25, of Hebron had a Class IV felony charge of Operate a motor vehicle to avoid arrest made against him bound over to district court.  Stierlen is slated to be arraigned on the charge on November 10 at 9:30 a.m.
According to court documents, law enforcement officers attempted to stop the defendant’s vehicle after it was allegedly travelling 21 to 35 miles per hour over the posted speed limit on August 28.  An open alcohol container was allegedly found after the vehicle was stopped.  Stierlen has three DUI convictions on his record including December 31, 2012, in Thayer County; June 10, 2014, in Gage County and February 20, 2015, in Lancaster County.

• Risa A. VanMeter, 32, currently incarcerated, had two Class IV felony charges of Possession of a drug controlled substance made against her bound over to district court.  VanMeter is slated to be arraigned on the charge on November 10 at 9:30 a.m.
According to court records, after turning herself in for a probation violation at the Fillmore County Sheriff’s Office in Geneva, while using the rest room, sheriff dispatch personnel witnessed VanMeter allegedly remove prescription drugs from her person.  The pills were determined to be Clonazepam and  Alprazolam.

• Jay D. Guy, 18, of Geneva had a Class IV felony charge of Attempted criminal trespass made against him bound over to district court.  Guy is slated to be arraigned on the charge on November 10 at 9:30 a.m.

According to court documents, a Fillmore County Sheriff’s Office (FCSO) investigation alleges that Guy broke into an apartment in Geneva on September 4.

In a county court sentencing last month, Douglas E. Rowe, 50, of Grafton was sentenced to 18 months court-ordered probation by Fillmore County Court Judge Michael P. Burns for the charge of Attempt of a Class I misdemeanor, 3rd degree assault.  Terms of the probation include a possible 90 day jail sentence, attend a 12-step program meeting twice a week and find a sponsor, complete I.O.P. with aftercare, participate/complete cognitive behavior program, victim accountability class and anger management program.  Rowe was also ordered to pay $480 in probation costs, $90 drug-testing fees, $300 fine, $49 court costs and a $10 computer-screening fee.

According to court records a FCSO investigation, Rowe was involved in an altercation with his roommate and a woman on April 11 at his residence in Grafton.  The investigation indicates that Rowe, who later was tested with a blood alcohol content of .201, broke a bedroom door at the residence and made threatening statements while holding a sword.

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