Knox County District Court

A 31-year-old Bloomfield man was sentenced to a $1,000 fine and a 30-month term of specialized substance abuse supervised probation when he faced the Honorable Mark Johnson in Knox County District courtroom last Wednesday, May 1.

He was also ordered to pay court costs of $147 and probation-related fees totaling $930.

Nathaniel J. Hayes pleaded guilty to a Class 4 felony count, possession of methamphetamine, Jan. 29 after reaching a plea agreement with Knox County prosecutor, John Thomas. A misdemeanor count of false reporting was dismissed as part of the bargain.

Terms of the SSAS probation include orders to follow treatment recommendation set forth in a presentence evaluation; attend three Alcohol Anonymous/Narcotics Anonymous or other non-faith program meetings per week and obtain a sponsor for said program; complete moral reconation therapy; comply with curfew (shall be home between hours of 10 p.m. and 6:30 a.m. unless otherwise authorized by probation officer) for first six months of probation term; and sign a waiver of extradition. Hayes was represented by Martin Klein of Neligh.

In a related case, charges against Donna Bartels, 33, now of Yankton, S.D., who was charged in the same incident, were dismissed.

Thomas filed a motion April 18, to dismiss a felony count of possession of methamphetamine.

Other cases heard by Johnson on May 2 include:

Edward Childress, 36, of Bloomfield faced Johnson for a pretrial hearing on two felony counts, Count I: Third degree assault on an officer, and Count II: Escape.

The defendant and Knox County Attorney John Thomas reached a plea deal, in which Thomas dismissed Count I, with prejudice, and Childress changed his plea to no contest on Count II. In addition, Thomas agreed to file no additional charges related to the incident and a mutual recommendation was made for a sentence to include two years probation with conditions.

Johnson found Childress guilty of escape, a Class 4 felony, and ordered a pre-sentence investigation. He also ordered Childress to obtain an alcohol evaluation. Sentencing is set July 2.

Bond in the amount of $10,000, 10% cash, filed Dec. 3, is continued, with conditions that he have no contact with two females, nor be within 100 yards of 707 Broadway, Bloomfield.

Childress is represented by Rod Smith of O’Neill, public defender.

Childress is also set for sentencing Aug. 3 in Knox County Court, on a misdemeanor disturbing the peace conviction for an offense committed the same date. County Judge Donna Taylor ordered any presentence investigative report from the district court case be available at that time.

The charges all came after Bloomfield and Knox County officers were called to the home at 707 Broadway for a domestic situation, according to the probable-cause affidavit filed in the case Dec. 3. Childress was subsequently placed under arrest for disturbing the peace and several other allegations. During transport to the county jail for booking, an officer reported Childress opened a door of the vehicle, it appeared he was attempting to jump out, and as the officers attempted to add restraints, he bit an officer.

Steven Svatos, 42, of Stanton pleaded guilty to two counts when he faced Johnson on Wednesday.

He was charged with Count I: Possession of a deadly weapon by a prohibited person, Class 1D felony, and Count II: Driving while intoxicated, enhanced, a Class W misdemeanor. Original information filed in the case included that Svatos, who was previously convicted of a felony, was in possession of a shotgun.

Svatos, who is represented by Douglas Stratton of Norfolk, reached a plea agreement with Thomas. Per terms of the agreement, Thomas filed an amended complaint, reducing Count I to attempted possession of a deadly weapon by a prohibited person, with Count II remaining unchanged. Thomas also agreed to stand mute regarding sentence recommendation.

Svatos pleaded guilty to both counts. Sentencing is set July 2. Johnson ordered a pre-sentence investigation.

Bond in the amount of $5,000, 10% cash, posted Oct. 22, 2018, is continued.

Virginia Burnett, 51, of South Beach, Ore., faced Johnson for arraignment on a charge of possession of a controlled substance,methamphetamine, a Class 4 felony, alleged March 20 on a closed county road.

Burnett, who had waived her right to a preliminary county court hearing, entered a plea of not guilty. Pretrial hearing is set May 28, with a jury trial placed on the court’s July 8 docket.

Bond filed March 22, in the amount of $20,000, 10% cash, is continued. Johnson ordered an amendment to bond conditions to allow Burnett to travel to California, provided she sign a waiver of extradition.

According to a probable cause affidavit filed in the case, Burnett was the alleged driver and Jerry Kotrous, 70, of Waldport, Ore., an alleged passenger in a vehicle that was pulled over after going around a barricade on 531 Avenue, by a Santee Tribal Police officer.

The case was subsequently turned over to the Knox County sheriff and both defendants were transported and booked into the Knox County Jail.

According to the affidavit, Burnett holds a California driver’s license and Kotrous, a Nebraska license.

Kotrous is charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor count of obstructing a peace officer, for his alleged role in the incident. He is set for arraignment June 20 in Knox County Court. He filed bond in the amount of $20,000, 10% cash, on March 21.

Burnett is represented by Smith. Ted Lohrberg of Pierce is serving as special Knox County prosecutor for both cases.

Johnson sustained a motion for continuance of a pretrial hearing for Sheena J. Asbury, 35, of Center until May 28. Jury trial slated May 14 is rescheduled for Sept. 17.

Bond in the amount of $10,000, 10% cash, posted Aug. 31, 2018, is continued as well.

Two motions filed earlier this year by Asbury’s court-appointed attorney, Jeffrey Hrouda of Norfok - requesting funds to engage a forensic accountant and funds to obtain records of probate proceedings regarding the alleged victim in the case - were both overruled by Johnson, as moot.

Asbury and her husband, Kevin Asbury, 38, are each accused of three felony counts - theft, more than $5,000, conspiracy to commit felony theft, and knowing and intentional abuse of a vulnerable adult. They both entered not guilty pleas at earlier district court appearances.

Charges against the couple were filed in Knox County Court on Aug. 29, 2018, by Madison County Attorney Joe Smith, acting as special county attorney for Knox County.

The alleged crimes were committed between Sept. 1, 2015, and Aug. 28, 2018, and included allegations the coconspirators took money from the bank account of the victim.

The arrests came after a joint investigation, over several months, by the Knox County Sheriff’s Office and the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.

Pretrial for Kevin Asbury is slated May 28 as well, with his jury trial set July 8. He is represented by Smith.

Lonnie P. John Jr. 35, of Niobrara appeared for hearings to show cause for nonpayment of restitution and costs ordered as part of an August 2018 sentence and arraignment for revocation of probation ordered in the same case.

John was convicted of the May 16, 2018, burglary of a Crofton residence and was ordered to pay $250 restitution by Dec. 31, 2018, as part of a sentence pronounced by the Honorable James Kube on Aug. 28, 2018.

Last Wednesday, Johnson found the defendant had not been served with information one full day prior to arraignment. The defendant wished to exercise the 24-hour waiting period. Arraignment and restitution hearing are continued to May 28.

Johnson addressed the show-cause hearing for nonpayment of costs. The defendant will be allowed to sit out costs of $147, at the statutory daily rate. John was remanded to the custody of the Knox County Sheriff. John is represented by Smith.

Two individuals requesting post-conviction relief had their hearings continued to May 28, Roy D. Merrell, 38, currently serving a sentence in a Nebraska Department of Corrections facility for the June 2015 burglary of Manion’s Drug Store in Creighton; and Elroy L. Wabashaw, a/k/a Johnny L. Bearshield, 62, who is serving consecutive sentences in a corrections’ facility for a 2005 robbery and use of a firearm to commit a felony.