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Rivera sentenced to pen for methTell North Platte what you think
Courtesy Photo­Image
Ross Rivera
Courtesy Photo­Image
Stephanie Hill

A North Platte man was sentenced to up to three years in prison Monday for possessing methamphetamine and domestic assault.

Ross Rivera, 27, previously pleaded guilty to the charges in Lincoln County District Court.

Rivera was arrested Oct. 14 after North Platte police received several complaints of domestic abuse from his girlfriend at the time, Sheena Strand. Rivera also had a small bag of meth when he was arrested, county attorney Rebecca Harling said.

In court Monday, defense attorney Robert Lindemeier said Strand contacted him several times throughout the proceedings. Strand changed her story about the abuse several times and said she didnít want to see Rivera go to prison, Lindemeier said.

Rivera has been in jail for four months awaiting sentencing. While there, he successfully completed six weeks of intensive out-patient treatment for drug addiction. He bonded out of jail two days before sentencing.

ďI could have gotten high, but I didnít,Ē Rivera told the court Monday. ďAt first I was blaming her (Strand), but now Iím seeing my wrongs. Iím willing to do whatever it takes to stay out of prison.Ē

Judge Richard Birch noted that Rivera has been convicted of meth possession twice before and failed probation. He said prison was the only viable option.

Birch sentenced Rivera to one-and-a-half to three years in the Nebraska State Penitentiary. He credited Rivera 120 days for time served.

In related action

Riveraís ex-girlfriend, Stephanie Hill of North Platte pleaded no contest to possessing and distributing meth.

County Attorney Rebecca Harling said Hill, 26, was originally arrested Dec. 23, 2010. Investigators searched her house and found empty baggies and a digital scale that contained meth residue, tests showed.

Coincidentally, Hill was also charged for assaulting Rivera that day, according to court records.

She spent two nights in jail and paid bail on Christmas Day.

But eight months later, she was arrested again for meth distribution.

She bonded out of jail again in early October to admit herself to drug treatment, but she was arrested again on Jan. 3 after she was unsuccessfully discharged from St. Monicaís drug treatment facility in Omaha.

With no bond and facing 55 years in prison, she will be sentenced May 19.

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The North Platte Bulletin - Published 2/13/2012
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