March 2, 2015

Call to 911 sparks search for suspect, sparring with police

HandcuffsPolice dispatchers in Beatrice got a 911 call from a man last night who said his phone was broken, demanded that it be fixed, used profanity toward the dispatchers, then hung up.

Police Sergeant Jay Murphy says officers launched a search for the suspect, identified as 24-year-old Mathew Stevison.

“Officers located Stevison, riding a bicycle,” Murphy says. “They confronted him to speak with him. Stevison took the bike that he was riding and threw it at one of the officers, striking one of them in the leg. In the process of being arrested, he had a physical altercation with the officers.”

Police determined Stevison had been drinking alcohol, but did not know his blood-alcohol content.

They took him to Beatrice Community Hospital, where he continued to be combative toward police and hospital staff.

He was treated and released into police custody and allegedly tried to escape while handcuffed.

Stevison faces a list of charges, including assault on a police officer and resisting arrest.

By Doug Kennedy, KWBE, Beatrice


Suspended UNK professor faces child porn charges

GavelA federal court judge has denied a request that medical testimony be allowed in the case of a University of Nebraska-Kearney professor accused of engaging in child pornography in 2013.

Defense attorneys for Joseph Benz argue that prescription medication may have contributed to his involvement in illegal activity.

Federal Judge Richard Kopf won’t allow defense attorneys to offer psychiatric and phychological testimony at Benz’s trial, which was previously scheduled to begin Monday in U.S. District Court in Lincoln. The trial now is scheduled for April.

Benz is charged with two counts of receiving and distributing child pornography between January 1st and May 20th of 2013.

A search of Benz’s home in May 2013 alledgedly uncovered more than 20,000 questionable image files, according to the State Attorney General’s Office.

Benz was arrested, later posted bond and is now free.

Defense attorney’s claim medication Benz was taking to combat complications of Parkinson’s disease led to his unorthodox behavior. However, federal prosecutors objected to Benz’s diminished capacity defense and asked Kopf to prevent Benz’s attorneys from offering the testimony.

Benz was suspended from his teaching duties at UNK in May 2013 and has not returned to campus.

By Brent Wiethorn, KKPR, Kearney


Warning about synthetic drug use after 11 hospitalized in Connecticut


Law enforcement is again issuing a warning about the use of synthetic drugs after eleven people were hospitalized in Connecticut on Sunday. They had taken synthetic drugs known as Molly or N-Bomb. Douglas County Deputy Jason Stehlick is a Task Force officer for the Drug Enforcement Administration and says it is not an east coast problem. 

The DEA Task Force first discovered N-Bomb in the metro area last summer. Deputy Stehlick says both N-Bomb and Molly are classified as psychedelic drugs. 

N-Bomb is similar to LSD and found on blotter paper that is taken orally. Increases heart rate, affects respiration, increases body temperature and causes hallucinations. He says Molly causes similar symptoms.

Deputy Stehlick says even if legislation is passed banning the contents of some of these synthetic drugs makers develop another “recipe” to make it legal.   Some of these synthetic drugs have been sold over the counter at convenience stores around the country.

Northeast Nebraska judge refuses to lower bond in fatal teen-ager shooting case

A northeast Nebraska judge has refused to lower the bond for a Fremont teen-ager accused of shooting to death his roommate.

A reduction in bond for 18-year-old Andrew Marty was denied by Dodge County Judge Kenneth Vampola in county court Tuesday.

Marty, in court on manslaughter, assault with a deadly weapon, and other charges was visibly shaken.

Those charges stem from an incident January 25th in which a firearm Marty was handling discharged, killing his roommate, 19 year old Kevin Kennebeck.

County Attorney Oliver Glass says the charges are too serious to lower the bond and that others have absconded on lesser charges.

Marty’s attorney, Leo Eskey, in arguing for a reduced bond, said the incident is a tragic accident with no anger involved, that recurrence is highly unlikely and added that Marty’s family resides in Fremont and the possibility of Marty leaving the area is minimal.

Judge Vampola, however, maintained the current bond of $250,000 and set a preliminary hearing for April 30th.

By Connie Green, KHUB

Trooper seizes marijuana, hashish in traffic stop in western Nebraska

images22G0BMCXA state trooper has seized nearly 30 pounds of marijuana during a weekend traffic stop on Interstate 80.

The Nebraska State Patrol reports the trooper stopped an eastbound car near the Ogallala exit on I-80 in Keith County for following too close. After getting permission to search the vehicle, the trooper found 27 pounds of marijuana and 10 grams of hashish in luggage stored in the trunk of the vehicle.

The driver, 28-year-old Richard Zuppelli of Buffalo, NY, and a passenger, 28-year-old Shawn Reynolds also of Buffalo have been charged with possession with intent to sell the drugs.