October 22, 2014

Homeless man gets up to 40 years in prison for assault

A Cheyenne County judge issued a stern sentence in the case of a homeless man who nearly beat his co-traveler to death.

Thirty-one-year-old Justin Adolph of Virginia was handed between 30 and 40 years in prison for attempted first-degree assault and conspiracy to commit attempted first-degree assault at sentencing Tuesday morning.

He gets nearly one year of credit for time served and could be eligible for parole in 15 years with good behavior.

Prosecutors recommended up to 30 years in prison, but District Court Judge Derek Weimer went beyond that, saying Adolph left the victim “perilously close to death” and that the case involved “significant violence.” Judge Weimer cited Adolph’s extensive rap sheet, which includes six-to-eight prior assault convictions and multiple other contacts with law enforcement.

County Attorney Paul Schaub argued for the stiff sentence in a plea deal and on Tuesday, even citing Adolph’s condoning of convicted murderer Charles Manson, of which Adolph has a tattoo of Manson’s face.

Adolph and his common-law wife Stephanie O’Neal are drifters and were traveling with the victim in June 2011 when the victim was found along the side of Interstate 80 with head lacerations, a broken jaw and what one doctor called a “significant brain injury” which was mentioned in court Tuesday.

O’Neal has pleaded guilty to four misdemeanor counts of compounding a felony and was sent for evaluation in Lincoln. She will be sentenced after results are returned to Cheyenne County officials.

By Dave Collins, KSID, Sidney