Connie Ulmer, 50, of Broken Bow, received a sentence of five years probation this morning (09/23/21) in Custer County District Court. The sentence also includes 30-day jail time each year, waivable.
On Aug. 19, Ulmer pled No Contest to one charge, Criminal Attempt (Attempt of a Class 2A Felony) and the court found her guilty. Today, both the state and the defense attorney asked the court to follow the recommendations of the presentence investigation.
Custer County Deputy Attorney Kayla Haberstick said the state believes Ulmer is an appropriate candidate for probation. “She is and was a pillar of the community,” Haberstick said. Though the victim has expressed extreme disappointment in Ulmer’s actions, Haberstick added that Ulmer has no criminal history and has been active in the community.
Defense attorney Brian Davis said the agreement was not arrived at lightly. “This plea agreement has teeth,” he said. “We’re here because of the decisions she (Ulmer) made. She’s taken responsibility and she’s faced it.” He added that the case has taken a heavy toll on Ulmer’s health as well as her accounting business. “She made an honest mistake and it was compounded by her actions,” he said. “A lot more money was paid back.’
Davis told District Court Judge Karin Noakes that restitution of more than $60,000 has been paid, plus five percent interest, to the Broken Bow Booster Club. “We never made a counter offer, we never negotiated,” he said. “We paid what they asked.”
When given an opportunity to speak, Ulmer, who was visibly shaking, stood. With the court’s permission, her attorney read a statement in which Ulmer had written, “If I could go back and change things, I would. I am so sorry. I apologize to my employees and to my clientele.” The statement continued, “I offer my sincere apologies. I take full responsibility.”
In delivering the sentence, Judge Noakes noted that no violence was involved in the crime, however, she spoke about loss of trust. “That will last well into the future,” she said. She noted that Ulmer has been an active volunteer in the community in the past. Referring to probation terms that require a specific amount of community service, Noakes said, “I suggest you do more than that. It could help you earn back trust of the community.”
Per probation terms, Ulmer is not to volunteer financial services for non-profit organizations or events.
The annual jail sentence of 30 days is to begin Aug 1, 2022. Judge Noakes told Ulmer, “That sentence will be waived as long as you do what you’re suppose to be doing.” She also reminded Ulmer that in the event probation terms are not met, the maximum sentence could be imposed.
“It was a complete lapse of judgement. One lapse of judgement should not define an entire life,” Noakes said.
In other cases, Gerome McLaurin, 51, of Broken Bow was sentenced to 12 to 18 months, with credit for 10 days served. He pled No Contest on Aug. 19 to one count, Distribution of a controlled substance (marijuana), a class 2 Felony. The sentence is to be served concurrently with two sentences in Buffalo County. McLaurin was also ordered to pay restitution of $713.34 ($210 to Grocery Kart and $503.34 to Mead Lumber.)
A warrant was to be issued for Adam D. Larson, 34 of Salina, Kan., upon the defendant’s failure to appear for a hearing. Larson faces a charge of Criminal non-support/violation of a court order, a Class IV Felony.
A warrant was also to be issued for Andrew L. Adams, 54, of Broken Bow upon failing to appear for a pretrial hearing. Adams faces a charge of Distribution/Possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance (methamphetamine), a Class IV Felony.
Christopher Gallett, 30, of Broken Bow entered a No Contest plea for one count of child abuse (placing a child in a dangerous situation), a Class IIIA Felony. The court found him guilty and scheduled sentencing for Nov. 18.
The cases of State v. Donna M. Lechleitner and and State v. Phillip S. Duncan were continued with jury trials scheduled for February, 2022.
A warrant was issued for Marrisa C. Stephens, 30, of Broken Bow who failed to appear for a hearing on two counts of Possession of a controlled substance in two separate cases.