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Saner arraigned on five felonies

November 21, 2012

Nicholas Saner, 31 of Broken Bow, was arraigned in Custer County District Court Nov. 8 on five felony charges, stemming from a Sept. 8, 2012 incident involving a Broken Bow woman.
According to the complaint, Broken Bow police were called to a residence on South 13th Avenue in Broken Bow Sept. 8, 2012, at about 2:35 a.m. after receiving a call that someone was threatening to burn down the house. Officers picked up Saner immediately upon arriving at the scene.
Saner has been charged with the following:
Count 1 - criminal attempt, sexual assault, Class III felony
Count 2 - first degree false imprisonment, Class IIIA felony
Count 3 - domestic third degree assault, Class I misdemeanor
Count 4 - criminal attempt, arson, Class III felony
Count 5 - terroristic threats, Class IV felony
Possible penalties are: Count 1, 1-20 years imprisonment and/or $25,000 fine; Count 2, 0-5 years imprisonment and/or $10,000 fine; Count 3, 0-1 year imprisonment and/or $1,000 fine; Count 4, 1-20 years imprisonment and/or $25,000 fine; and Count 5, 0-5 years imprisonment and/or $10,000 fine.
He entered a plea of not guilty on all charges at his Nov. 8 arraignment. Jury trial has been set for Feb. 11, with a pretrial conference Jan. 17. Saner remains in the Custer County Jail on 10 percent of $25,000 bond.
Also arraigned Nov. 8 were:
• Lauretta Huffman, 29 of Broken Bow, entered a plea of no contest to an amended charge of theft by taking, after reaching a plea agreement with the State. Theft by taking is a Class I misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in prison and/or $1,000 fine. Sentencing has been set for Dec. 20.
• Keith Morgan, Jr., 27 of Sargent, entered a plea of not guilty to a charge of burglary, a Class III felony. The charge has a minimum penalty of 1 year in prison and a maximum of 20 years in prison, and/or $25,000 fine. Jury trial has been set for Feb. 11, with pretrial conference set for Jan. 17.
• Trent Esch, 36 of Broken Bow, appeared in District Court Nov. 8 on a motion to revoke bond. Esch was freed from the Custer County Jail after posting $250,000 bond, on charges of shooting an unoccupied Custer County Sheriff’s Office vehicle in March 2012. He awaits sentencing, set for Feb. 11, 2013.
The motion to revoke bond was filed as the result of an allegation that Esch violated a condition of his bond to not consume alcohol.. He was arrested Oct. 31 for that alleged violation.
The defense argues that no chemical test had been performed on Esch that night, therefore there was no evidence that he had indeed consumed alcohol. Based on other evidence offered by the state however, Judge Karin Noakes sustained the motion to revoke bond. The state did not file a motion to forfeit bond, therefore the bond in the March case was released. Esch is now being held in Custer County Jail without bond on those charges.
Immediately following his appearance in District Court, Esch was taken to County Court where he was arraigned on a charge of terroristic threats, resulting from the Oct. 31 incident. He appeared before Judge Allan Brodbeck, who set the matter for hearing Nov. 21 at 1 p.m.
• Michael J. McFadden, 38, was sentenced by Judge Noakes to 1 year in the Nebraska Department of Corrections, for 4th offense DUI, a Class IIIA felony. Though McFadden had successfully completed in-patient treatment and a 6-month program in a half-way house, Judge Noakes did not feel he was an appropriate candidate for probation. He will get credit for 41 days served, and his drivers license will be revoked for a period of 15 years.
Also sentenced was Michael Hickman, 59 of Merna, on two counts of theft by taking. In an agreement reached with the prior county attorney, the State did not object to probation, with County Attorney Bowers saying he would honor that agreement. Hickman was sentenced to 1 year probation on each count, to be served concurrently, and ordered to pay $401 restitution. He is also ordered to pay a $500 fine for each count.
Jeffery S. Woods, 41 of Broken Bow, was sentenced to 6 months in Custer County Jail, on an amended charge of 3rd degree assault, a Class I misdemeanor. While Woods made a plea to the court to grant probation rather than jail time, citing that circumstances have changed with his family since that agreement was made, Judge Noakes stood by the initial plea agreement. Woods was ordered to report to jail Nov. 12.
Joseph B. Sands, 24 of Broken Bow, entered a plea of no contest to an amended charge of 3rd degree assault, after reaching a plea agreement with the State. The charge, a Class I misdemeanor, carries a possible penalty of 0-1 years incarceration, and/or $1,000 fine. Sands was scheduled for sentencing Dec. 20.
Tyler C. Bain appeared with his attorney, Steven Potter, after the Custer County Attorney’s office filed a motion to withdraw citing a conflict of interest. That conflict arose after Bain’s previous attorney, Steven Bowers, was appointed Custer County Attorney. Judge Noakes sustained the motion to withdraw, and appointed a special prosecutor of the Attorney General’s office to prosecute the case. A pretrial hearing for Bain is set for Dec. 20. Jury trial in the case is set for Feb. 11, 2013.

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