A 22-year-old Holdrege man was sentenced Monday to five years of probation for attempted sexual assault of a minor girl in February 2019.
Daniel D. White received the term during an appearance in Lincoln County District Court. He will also have to register as a sex offender.
White pleaded no contest to the amended count Sept. 14. He was initially charged with first-degree sexual assault of a minor.
District Judge Richard Birch said the probation, which was recommended over a prison term in a pre-sentence investigation, was unusual given the seriousness of the charge.
He pointed to White’s lack of a criminal record before the incident as well as a psychological test indicating a low chance of his reoffending.
Birch added that White was 20 at the time of the incident, but testing showed his developmental growth lags behind that.
Before the sentence was delivered, White’s attorney, Martin Troshynski, stated that if White were sentenced to prison, he believed it would be “creating a victim who would be preyed upon” by other inmates.
Birch warned that if White violated the probation conditions, he would not hesitate to send him to prison.
Also on Monday, a 51-year-old North Platte man pleaded no contest to two counts of incest for incidents that took place over a decade and a half.
Four counts of first-degree sexual assault were dismissed in the plea agreement.
The North Platte Telegraph is withholding the man’s name in order to protect the victim’s identity. He is scheduled to be sentenced April 5.
Other cases Monday (defendants are from North Platte unless otherwise noted):
» Merrill G. Johnston, 36, pleaded no contest to an amended felony count of attempted possession of a dangerous weapon by a prohibited person that stems from a July 3 incident.
Johnston was sentenced to 180 days in jail and credited with 80 days served.
» Austin R. Klatt, 29, pleaded no contest to a felony count of tampering with a witness.
Two other counts from the July 2018 incident — first-degree sexual assault and third-degree domestic assault with a prior conviction — were dismissed without prejudice. Those charges can be refiled at a later date.
Klatt was sentenced to 14 months of probation.
» Matthew S. Seamann, 38, of Maxwell, pleaded no contest to an amended charge of possession of a defaced firearm on Sept. 28, 2019.
He was initially charged with possession of a firearm by a prohibited person. A misdemeanor count of driving without an ignition interlock was dismissed in the plea agreement.
Seamann was sentenced to 120 days in jail and credited for time served. He also received a nine-month term of post-release supervision.
» Chrystal A. Couthren, 34, admitted violating parole conditions in two cases. Couthren violated a two-year probation term that started in 2017 that stems from cases of possession of methamphetamine in October 2015 and OxyContin in December 2016.
She was sentenced to 176 days in each of the cases and the terms run at the same time.
She was credited for time served.
» Travis E. Kerner, 41, of Sutherland, pleaded no contest to felony counts of using a firearm to commit a felony and making terroristic threats as a well as a misdemeanor count of domestic assault intentionally causing bodily injury.
The three charges stem from a Dec. 2, 2019 incident.
He was sentenced to a 14-month probation term.
» Nicholas E. Flynn, 37, admitted violating the conditions of specialized substance abuse supervision in two cases.
Flynn was sentenced to three years of probation in January 2019 that stemmed from convictions for DUI and third-degree domestic assault.
He violated the probation conditions in May.
He is scheduled to be sentenced April 19.
» Jayden D. Shannon, 21, pleaded not guilty to felony counts of assault by strangulation or suffocation and robbery, and also a misdemeanor count of assault causing bodily injury to a person.
The charges stem from a Sept. 29 incident.
An April 19 status hearing was scheduled.
» Richard D. Fries, 48, pleaded not guilty to a charge of possession of methamphetamine on March 2.
The initial hearing was one of three cases that Fries has in Lincoln County District Court.
Fries is charged with making terroristic threats Feb. 26 in one case, and possession of a deadly weapon by a prohibited person and carrying a concealed weapon in another.
An April 19 status hearing was scheduled for all three cases.
Fries also has a case in Buffalo County in which he is charged with discharging a firearm near a vehicle or building and felony possession of a firearm by a prohibited person in connection with an Aug. 26 incident in Kearney.
» Kerec M. Gilmore, 37, pleaded not guilty to felony counts of third-degree domestic assault with a prior conviction, assault by strangulation or suffocation, first-degree false imprisonment and being a habitual criminal.
The charges stem from a Dec. 31 arrest.
Gilmore has two other cases in district court involving violation of post-release supervision.
An April 19 status hearing was scheduled for all three cases.
» Michael J. Hunt, 46, pleaded not guilty to possession of alprazolam with intent to distribute, possession of a firearm by a prohibited person and driving with a revoked license.
The charges stem from a Sept. 17 incident.
An April 19 status hearing was set for the case as well as another one in which is he is charged with violating a two-year probation term that started in November 2019.
» Marcos T. Escarsega, 36, pleaded not guilty of first-degree domestic assault and being a habitual criminal.
The charges stem from a Sept. 16 incident.
A status hearing was scheduled for April 19.
» Jesse W. Juarez, 27, pleaded no contest to second-degree assault and use of a deadly weapon to commit a felony in connection with a Nov. 21 incident.
An April 5 status hearing was scheduled.
» Trevor J. Mason, 21, pleaded not guilty to a felony count of cocaine possession that stems from a June 16 incident. An April 5 status hearing was scheduled.
More by Tim Johnson
5 crime stories that stood out in 2020
From our reporter who covers the crime beat, here are some memorable articles he worked on this year.
This was the first time in my career I've covered a murder from the beginning. The case has kept reader interest, as well.
One of the most memorable court hearings in 2020: The victim's father had a lot to say to the man accused of killing his son.
One thing that really stuck with me is the ages of the three men involved. Both co-defendants just turned 18 this year and the victim was only 22.
The initial suspect, a Colorado teenager, was cleared through DNA and his former accuser was then convicted.
I included this on the list for a simple reason: It is a case that generated reader interest from the initial arrest and continues to do so.