CUSTER COUNTY— It was a long day in the Custer County Court room for all involved on Monday, March 4 as seven pages of cases were set to take place. Of those seven pages, only seven felony cases were on the docket.
The first appearance of Mary Hinds, 49 of Broken Bow, began the felony cases where she has been accused of three counts (class IIIA felonies) of child abuse, not resulting in injury, which occurred on or about January 23. An emotional Hinds told the court multiple times that she was unsure on why the charges were coming forward.
Judge Tami Schendt told Hinds that she would need to discuss the accused charges with her attorney as she did not know any details. Hinds could be facing a combined maximum of nine years in prison if found guilty of the class IIIA felonies. A personal recognizance bond was set and a preliminary hearing will be held on April 1 at 2:30 PM.
Austin Sullivan, 23 of Oconto, appeared in court on arraignment for two misdemeanor charges and a first appearance of the one felony charge. Sullivan is being accused of theft by taking of property valued between $1,500 and $5,000 (class IV felony), issuing four bad checks (each a class I misdemeanor), and operating a vehicle without valid insurance (class II misdemeanor).
Sullivan could face a maximum three and a half years in prison if found guilty of all charges. Preliminary hearing for the felony and entry of a plea for the misdemeanors will take place on April 1 at 2:30 PM.
Three out-of-state men had their cases set for arraignment in Custer County District Court after holding a consolidated preliminary hearing. Dennis Farrell, 38 of Bismarck, North Dakota, Adam Houn, 21 of Strasburg, North Dakota, and Timothy Murphy-Martinez, 29 of Fruita, Colorado, are all being accused of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver methamphetamine (30g).
The three men and their attorneys argued that the State’s facts that all three were in the same vehicle where the methamphetamine was found was not enough evidence to show that they had intention of delivering the illegal substance.
It was also said during an interview with one of the arresting officers, Custer County Deputy Sheriff Braxton Sawyer-Kociemba, that one of the bags that contained the illegal substances, pipes, and baggies was claimed by the defendant Murphy-Martinez. Regardless of the arguments by the three attorneys, Judge Schendt found that there was enough evidence to bind all three cases over to district court for arraignment on March 21 at 9:30 AM.
Christopher Amos, 30 of Broken Bow, could spend the remainder his life in prison if found guilty of two counts of 1st degree sexual assault of a minor (class IB felony). Each count carries a minimum sentence of 15 years in prison with a maximum sentence of life in prison.
If found guilty of both charges, the sentences could be ordered to served consecutive meaning that the minimum Amos would be allowed to serve would be 30 years in prison. Amos waived his preliminary hearing and the case was bound to the district court for arraignment on March 21 at 9:30 AM.
The preliminary hearing for Carlos Riol, 36 of Broken Bow, has been continued to April 9 at 2 PM. Riol is facing three counts of child abuse.