An alleged methamphetamine distributor was sentenced to 260 days in jail Monday after negotiating with the Lincoln County Attorney to reduce the charge.
Melissa A. Belitz, 31, pled no contest to attempted possession of methamphetamine.
Belitz sold meth to a confidential informant on Aug. 16 and was arrested Oct. 27, according to a court affidavit.
She was originally charged with meth distribution, but the charge was reduced after she underwent three weeks of in-patient drug treatment.
In court Monday, defense attorney Blaine Gillett said that Belitz successfully completed in-patient treatment, but broke a few rules while she stayed clean and compliant. He said Belitz smoked cigarettes when she wasn’t supposed to and shared property with other residents, which is against the rules.
“There’s good news and bad news,” Gillett told the court. “She wasn’t discharged unsuccessfully, but there were some issues.”
Judge Richard Birch credited Belitz 139 days for time served before sentencing and ordered her to pay court costs.
The prosecutor made no sentencing request, referring to the case file she had submitted.
Horn and Lopez
In other action Monday, a North Platte man and woman were convicted of assaults that occurred in February.
James G. Horn, 22, entered his ex-wife’s house Feb. 20 and beat a man, police said, with two accomplices. One accomplice, Courtney Lopez, was also convicted Monday after she pled no contest.
Horn was charged with two counts of second-degree assault. He pled guilty to one charge and prosecutors dismissed one count in exchange for his plea.
Lopez, 23, pleaded no contest to third-degree assault and criminal trespassing. She was sentenced to 53 days in jail. She has already served the time as she awaited a district court hearing.
Horn faces a maximum of five years. He will be sentenced June 4.
Shortly before 2 a.m. on Feb. 20, police arrived at a home on the 2800 block of Rodeo Rd. and found a man outside with blood running down his face, chest and back. Several people were in the house, and two of them said they were assaulted, according to police.
Horn and another male suspect, Johnathan Loving of North Platte, were arrested a short time later.
Loving, 19, was charged with aiding and abetting second-degree assault, third-degree assault, trespassing and resisting arrest.
Lopez was arrested three days later at her apartment, police said.
A former resident of North Platte’s homeless shelter pled guilty Monday to stealing from her roommate.
Cynthia K. Johnston, 28, stole under $200 of property from her roommate March 8 at the Lincoln Connection.
Such crimes are generally classified as misdemeanors, but Johnston’s prior theft convictions earned her a felony charge.
Judge Richard Birch noted that she was previously convicted of theft in January and March 2010. He ordered a presentence investigation.
Johnston will be sentenced June 4.
Matthew Ferguson, 34, of Central City, pled guilty to attempting to drive under a suspended license.
Defense attorney Amanda Speichert requested that Ferguson’s sentencing be delayed by three weeks so he can make arrangements to do his time in Merrick County to prevent losing his job.
“I’m set for whatever you give me,” Ferguson told the court.
Birch sentenced Ferguson to 90 days in jail and permitted the extension.
Ferguson was arrested March 9 while the sheriff’s office was investigating the theft of scrap metals on property along the South Platte River. He would have also been charged with theft, but the landowner didn’t press charges. At the time, a sheriff’s spokesman said Ferguson should consider himself lucky he dealt with such a sympathetic landowner.
Andrew Bruce, 22, pled no contested to driving under the influence of alcohol which resulted in injury and fleeing to avoid arrest.
On Sept. 13, Bruce was driving with a blood-alcohol content of 0.21 – two-and-a-half times the legal limit. A police officer spotted him speeding and signaled for him to pull over, but Bruce sped up.
In court Monday, prosecutor Jennifer Wellan said Bruce drove more than 90 miles per hour and eventually collided with another vehicle during the chase.
Bruce fled the scene. He had a passenger in his car who was hospitalized for broken ribs, a punctured lung and torn ligaments, Wellan said.
After Bruce’s plea, defense attorney Robert Lindemeier requested that Bruce’s $50,000 bond be reduced so he can get out of jail before sentencing. Lindemeier said Bruce posed a minimal flight risk because he is a lifelong resident of North Platte and has become a trustee at the jail.
Wellan was opposed to that.
“This is Mr. Bruce’s second injury accident where he was under the influence,” she said.
Nonetheless, Birch reduced Bruce’s bond to $12,500, but ordered him to report to the sheriff’s office five times a week if he bails out.
Bruce will be sentenced June 4.