Custer County District Court stayed busy on Thursday, December 16 with a trio of felony arraignments and a sentencing.
Devon Flemming, 32 of Lincoln, was arraigned on alleged charges of possession of methamphetamine (Class IV felony), tampering with physical evidence (Class IV felony), and criminal impersonation (Class IV felony). Flemming pled not guilty to all three charges and the case was set for trial on February 7, 2022, at 9 AM with a pre-trial conference scheduled for January 20, 2022, at 10 AM.
If found guilty of all charges, Flemming could face up to six years in prison and be fined up to $30,000.
Cooper Brass, 22 of Broken Bow, was arraigned on two alleged charges of violation of a protection order (each a Class II misdemeanor) and two alleged charges of stalking (each a Class IIIA felony). Brass pled not guilty to the four charges and the case was set for trial on June 13, 2022, at 9 AM. Brass’ attorney Andrew Hanquist asked the court to place the case on for a later trial date to allow Brass time to complete his sentencing in the Custer County Jail on a Custer County Court case. Brass agreed to waive his right to a speedy trial and the trial was moved to the June jury term.
If Brass is found guilty of all charges, he could face up to seven years in prison and be fined up to $22,000.
Adam Larson, 34 of Salina, KS, was arraigned on a single charge of criminal non-support (Class IV felony). Larson, who elected to represent himself in the case, pled not guilty to the lone charge and the case was set for trial on February 7, 2022, at 9 AM with a pre-trial scheduled for January 20, 2022, at 10 AM. Larson could be sentenced to up to two years in prison and be fined up to $10,000 if found guilty.
Marrisa Stephens, 30 of Broken Bow, appeared to be sentenced on two charges of possession of a controlled substance (each a Class IV felony). During arguments, Deputy County Attorney Kayla Haberstick acknowledged Stephens has endured a lot of trauma throughout her life, but had failed to take advantage of the opportunities and programs in problem-solving court. Haberstick said she felt incarceration is appropriate for Stephens and asked she be sentenced to 12-18 months in prison.
Stephens’ attorney, Andrew Hanquist, stated mental health is a problem and she used drugs to numb the pain she was feeling. He also said he had recently learned Stephens was pregnant and believed this was helping turn her life around. Hanquist said she knows that she must take steps to face her mental health and she has begun to do that by meeting with counselors. He concluded by saying she has a job and a place to live if she is allowed on probation but noted if the court felt probation was not appropriate to make her sentences concurrent.
Stephens also spoke during the sentencing and said she knows she has done wrong things and there are no excuses. She stated that she has had problems trusting people even counselors, but is trying to be better for her child. She noted that her mother was the main driving force in why she was in a bad spot mentally, but is now five months sober and has cut ties with her mother. She concluded that she wants to be better than what people have expected of her and asked for leniency.
Judge Karin Noakes said after a review of the pre-sentence report, she felt Stephens was not an appropriate candidate for probation as she had failed to comply while in the problem-solving court program. Judge Noakes sentenced Stephens to nine months on each charge with both to be served concurrently. She was also given credit for 110 days already served.