David A. Ely, Sr.
Donald Warfield, 69, of North Platte pleaded not guilty Monday to first-degree sexual assault of a child.
Warfield was arrested June 11 and has been in the county jail since.
Warfield and David Ely, Sr. both appeared in Lincoln County District Court and pleaded not guilty.
Warfield's defense attorney Martin Troshynski asked Lincoln County District Judge Richard Birch to reduce Warfield’s bond. Troshynski said Warfield isn’t a flight risk because he is disabled, a longtime resident of North Platte and living on social security.
Lincoln county Deputy County Attorney Jennifer Wellan objected to any bond reduction.
Birch took into account Warfield’s prior record and noted that his bond had been reduced before from $250,000 to $125,000. Birch denied any further reduction.
Warfield awaits a status hearing on Sept. 24. If convicted, he faces a minimum of 20 years and a maximum of life imprisonment.
According to a police spokesman, the alleged victim, now 15-years-old, told authorities that Warfield began inappropriately touching her when she was seven and continued for 3-4 years. Police said the victim matured and grew confident before telling authorities what happened.
In Nebraska, there is no statute of limitations on child sexual assault.
Police said Warfield was living in a camper near the victim’s home at the time of the alleged sexual assault.
He was a registered sex offender as the result of a 2002 conviction of third-degree sexual assault of an 11- year-old girl. He was also arrested in April for failing to register as a sex offender.
Defense questions evidence in Ely arrest
David Ely, 50, of North Platte pled not guilty Monday to first degree sexual assault in Lincoln County District Court.
Ely was arrested in late May after police investigated a report of an assault by a woman at the Great Plains Regional Medical Center. Police searched Ely’s home and found a small amount of marijuana, drug paraphernalia, a small amount of a non-addictive prescription drug.
Ely was charged with first-degree sexual assault, possession of a controlled substance and possession of paraphernalia.
Defense attorney Russ Jones moved for discovery, stating that there were some problems with crucial evidence. Jones said he has not received the report on the search and seizure of Ely’s and the victim’s cell phones.
And, Jones said a white undershirt belong to the alleged victim with blood on it was seized. The victim claimed it was Ely’s blood but Ely denies the claim. Jones told the the court that Ely had no injuries and was not bleeding when arrested. He asked for a DNA test of the blood and offered to pay for it if the county couldn’t justify the expense.
District Judge Donald Rowlands ordered the DNA test be done at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Jones also moved to hire a private investigator to look into claims by the victim that were under question. One in particular was that she was screaming for help during the assault, but a neighbor of Ely’s said heard no screaming. The witness said the walls in their building are “paper thin” and she would have heard screaming.
Ely has confessed to having sex with the victim but said that it was consensual.
Jones also asked for a bond reduction to $125,000 to give Ely more of a chance to be released pending trial. Jones told the court that Ely has been jailed for 100 days, waiting for evidence to be processed, a frustrating situation.
Rowlands made no decision on the bond reduction until he reviews the case. He set a jury trial date of Oct. 9.
In other district court action:
Debbi Ryan, 44, of Maywood pled guilty Monday to theft for attempting to steal a Harley Davidson motorcycle.
Prosecutors said Ryan went into the backyard of Steve Moore on July 17 and tried to put the bike into the alley, but couldn’t. The bike is valued at $5,000.
Under a plea agreement, the Lincoln County Attorney’s Office asked for a sentence of the time Ryan has already served. District Judge Donald Rowlands sentenced her to 26 days with credit for 26 days served.
This is not the first stolen vehicle Ryan has been involved with. In November 2011 she was arrested for receiving a stolen vehicle and child abuse. In June, she was listed as a fugitive from justice in Frontier County. Sheriff’s records also show a probation violation in June 2012.
Alexis Harlow, 18, of North Platte pled guilty to second degree assault.
A family fight ended July 22 with Harlow conking her dad with a glass ashtray, prosecutors said.
Defense attorney Martin Troshynski asked for a bond reduction, but Deputy Lincoln County Attorney Tanya Roberts-Connick objected, citing Harlow’s juvenile record. Judge Richard Birch denied a reduction, saying the bond was already low at $5,000.