District Court Has Full Day Of Criminal Cases; Esch Trial Continued To February 2021

CUSTER COUNTY— It was a full day of criminal cases on Thursday, September 10 with a number of cases resulting in plea deals.

The morning began with Tyler Martin, 25 of Broken Bow, where he appeared for arraignment on one charge of possession of methamphetamine (class IV felony). Martin pled guilty to the charge after Custer County Attorney Steve Bowers informed the court that Martin had been accepted into problem-solving court. Sentencing will now be deferred pending the failure or completion of problem-solving court.

Ryan Frawley, 34 of Broken Bow, could be facing a lengthy prison sentence after being terminated from problem-solving court. According to the Custer County District Judge Karin Noakes, Frawley committed a number of violations while in problem-solving court including inhaling from an air duster can, being arrested for 3rd-degree domestic assault, testing positive for alcohol and methamphetamine, as well as a number of other violations.

Frawley did not dispute the violations and will now be back in court to be sentenced for burglary (class IIA felony) and possession of methamphetamine (class IV felony). If sentenced to the maximum, Frawley could serve up to twenty-two years behind bars and be fined up to $10,000. He will be back in court for sentencing on October 22 at 10 AM. Bond was also set at 10% of $25,000 in one case and 10% of $5,000 in the other.

Brandon Miller, 27 of Broken Bow, will be back in court in October after agreeing to a plea deal. Miller pled no contest to charges of 3rd degree sexual assault of a child (class IIIA felony) and cruelty to an animal (class IIIA felony). According to the factual basis read by Bowers, investigations into the incidents by the Custer County Sheriff’s Office and Broken Bow Police Department revealed Miller had inappropriately touched a minor in 2017 and had also deliberately injured kittens which resulted in one of the kittens being euthanized due to nerve damage and broken bones.

Miller will be sentenced on October 22 at 9:45 AM where he could spend the next six years in jail as well as being fined up to $20,000.

Acacia Lash, 33 of Broken Bow, also took a plea deal on Thursday, where she pled no contest to theft by taking (class I misdemeanor) and criminal attempt (class I misdemeanor). If sentenced to probation, an agreement was also reached where if probation determines Lash has completed all programs she could be released early.

According to the factual basis, the Custer County Sheriff’s Office was investigating a theft and found that Lash and two other individuals had taken silver coins from a home and sold them in 2013. Also in 2013, Lash had attempted to cash a check with a forged signature after it was found out the check had a lien against it.

While a joint recommendation for two years of probation on each charge was agreed on in the plea deal, Lash could be sentenced up to two years in jail and be fined $2,000 if the court does not follow the plea deal.

Lash will be back in court on November 5 at 10:15 AM for sentencing.

Trenton Esch, 44 of Broken Bow, had his trial continued to February 8, 2021, at 9 AM, due to discovery not being complete. A pretrial date was also set for January 21, 2021. Esch is facing alleged charges including first-degree murder (class IA felony), use of a firearm during the commission of a felony (class IC felony), and possession of a firearm by a prohibited person (class ID felony).

Cynthia Lowry, 39 of Sargent, will be headed to trial to begin on October 26 after the final details were combed out during the pretrial conference. The trial will begin with jury selection at 9 AM with the trial to take an estimated two days. Jurors will be allowed to wear masks and to keep the six-foot distance between the jurors, they will be seated in the gallery.