Steven Van Horn
Steven Clark Van Horn, 64, of North Platte, was convicted Friday of using a firearm to commit a felony and first degree false imprisonment.
Van Horn was originally charged with six crimes after he allegedly held a gun to an assistant manager at Buffalo Bill Manor in September.
He was charged with attempted second degree murder, use of a firearm to commit a felony, strangulation, false imprisonment, terroristic threats and carrying a concealed weapon.
Van Horn has been in jail since he was arrested on Sept. 24.
The six original charges were reduced to two in a plea agreement. Van Horn pled no contest.
Defense attorney Kent Florom requested his bond be reduced, but Lincoln County District Judge Richard Birch declined to do so. Bond is $500,000. Van Horn’s sentencing is set for Oct. 15.
The assistant manager a year ago, Jeannie Claypool, said Van Horn got into an elevator with her, choked her and pointed a gun at her abdomen and throat. She said he pulled the trigger but for an unknown reason the gun did not fire. Van Horn left the building. Claypool called 911 and police found Van Horn, just pulling his car into the manor parking lot, carrying a .32 caliber handgun in his pocket.
Van Horn said he didn’t know what the charges were about and proclaimed his innocence.
Police said the threats could have been the result of a simmering disagreement between Claypool and Van Horn, who had a disagreement several months earlier, but the precise cause of Van Horn’s outburst was not apparent.
During previous testimony in county court, Claypool said Van Horn threatened to kill her several times.
But defense attorney Kent Florom has described Van Horn as a mild-mannered man.
“This was an isolated incident,” Florom said in court in March. “Mr. Van Horn is a very peaceful gentleman.”
Florom said Van Horn helped foster and lead support groups inside the jail.
The disturbance stunned residents at the normally peaceful high-rise apartment building.
“We have never had a problem since I’ve been involved,” property manager Rob Stefka said when Van Horn was arrested. “This is far afield from the norm.”
Stefka has managed Buffalo Bill Manor and the companion building South Oak Manor for nearly 20 years.