District Court: Murder Trial On Schedule For June; Problem Solving Court Termination

District Court: Murder Trial On Schedule For June; Problem Solving Court Termination
Custer County District Court

CUSTER COUNTY— Only a few criminal cases were heard in Custer County District Court on Thursday, April 8 ranging from problem-solving court terminations to a status hearing on the murder trial.

The morning began with Chelsea Brass, 28, as she appeared on a motion to terminate her from problem-solving court. Judge Karin Noakes informed Brass that she was alleged to have violated a number of agreements including testing positive for methamphetamine, marijuana, and alcohol. Brass admitted to the violations and she was subsequently terminated from problem-solving court.

Due to the violations, a motion was also submitted to revoke Brass’ bond. Brass’ attorney Michael Borders argued that his client had very few instances of not showing up for her meetings, the issues seemed to center around testing positive for drugs and alcohol. Borders also stated Brass has a local address and is employed in the area.

Judge Noakes stated that the best chance for Brass to stay clean before sentencing was to be incarcerated and ordered her bond be revoked where she was then placed into custody by the Custer County Sheriff’s Office.

Brass will be sentenced on a single charge of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance (Class II Felony) where she could be incarcerated for 1-50 years in prison.

A status hearing took place regarding the charges against Trenton Esch, 44, with both attorneys appearing telephonically. During the hearing, Esch’s attorney, James Martin Davis, and Special Deputy County Attorney Michael Guinan from the Nebraska Attorney General’s Office stated that depositions were scheduled and everything seemed to be on schedule for a pre-trial hearing in May and the trial on June 14.

Esch is facing alleged charges of 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). The alleged murder charge carries a life sentence while the alleged firearm charges have a prison term of 7-100 years.

Joshua Kroeze, 36 of Loup City, filled a written waiver of appearance for his arraignment and pled not guilty to two alleged charges of possession/receiving a stolen firearm (each a Class IIA Felony).