Courtroom 1 one District Court Aug 2020

In Custer County District Court today (April 29, 2021), Juan Columbe, 28, of Valentine received two 5 to 10 year sentences to the Nebraska Department of Corrections. The sentences are to be served consecutively with credit for 396 days.

On March 22, 2021 Columbe entered No Contest pleas to two counts First Degree Assault, a Class 2 Felony and Criminal Attempt (Robbery), a Class 2a Felony. A third count, Escape using deadly force, was dropped.

The charges were in connection with a March 20, 2020 incident in which, while being transported in a van from the Department of Corrections in Lincoln to Valentine for court, Columbe attempted an escape in Broken Bow. Columbe assaulted the van driver, attempted to drive away in the van, then took keys from a Pump and Pantry employee in an attempt to escape using her vehicle. Columbe was apprehended by members of the Custer County Sheriff’s Office and the Nebraska State Patrol.

The sentence was reached with a plea agreement between the State of Nebraska and Columbe. In pronouncing sentence, District Court Judge said the amount of violence was a factor and that escape was the motivation. “And you caused harm to public servant,” Noakes added.

When asked if he wanted to speak on his own behalf, Columbe spoke via Zoom. “I regret what I did…I was not thinking clearly…It was traumatic for me, going back into the system,” he said. He said he plans to take advantage of programs while incarcerated. “I feel like I still have a chance, I’m not all the way over yet. I’m sorry. I feel the agreement is fair.”

In State v. Jimmie Sipes, 47, sentencing was set for June 3 for violating probation. An updated presentencing report was ordered by the court.

In State v. Matthew C. Thomas, 25, of Kearney, a progression hearing was set for Aug. 19. Thomas was appointed Michael Borders as public defender. Thomas is facing revocation of probation

First appearance for Brice Carpenter, 26, of Merna on revoking post release supervision was continued until June 3. An attorney for Carpenter will be appointed by the court.

The court was scheduled for a hearing on appeal on State v. Charles M. Waters. In November, 2020, Water, 48, of Minnesota, was found guilty in Custer County Court of two infractions, possession of drug paraphernalia, $100 fine, and possession of marijuana less than 1 ounce, $300 fine. Waters appealed the case to District Court in December, 2020.

Today (April 29, 2021) District Court Judge stated that the defendant did not appear, adding that the defendant made a request for a telephonic conference which was set for 10:15 a.m. The defendant sent a Zoom link however the court and attorneys for the state were not let into the meeting as of 10:38 a.m. The defendant also provided a phone number but “attempts to reach him were not successful,” Noakes stated.

The court ordered Waters, who is representing himself, to submit a brief by May 31. The State is to their brief by June 14 with a hearing set for June 24.

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