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In court: Jeromy Apodaca released, Marquez bound overTell North Platte what you think

Jeromy Apodaca, 23, of North Platte pleaded guilty Friday to charges of probation violation and procuring alcohol for a minor and was released from jail.

Apodaca was sentenced by Lincoln County Judge Kent Turnbull to 120 days jail for the probation violation and another 30 days for procuring. He has been in jail since June, when rape-related charges were filed against him, his father Virgil Apodaca Sr. and his brothers Virgil Jr. and Anthony.

Jeromy has served a total of 193 days and Turnbull gave him credit for that time.

Apodaca was charged with probation violation came when he failed to show up for a drug and alcohol testing session. The procuring charge came from a police officer working security in April at the D&N Event Center saw Jeromy get a beer and give it to his brother, Virgil Jr., 20.

Both Jeromy and Anthony were charged in June with aiding and abetting in the alleged rapes of three North Platte women in their late teens, but the charges were dropped Nov. 29 after defense attorneys successfully persuaded the court that there was no physical evidence to connect the two the crimes.

Anthony was released from jail at the time that the charges were dropped, but Jeromy remained behind bars until the court could officially hear his other two charges.

Three other men are still jailed in connection with the alleged rapes – Virgil Apodaca, Sr and Virgil Jr., as well as Anthony Nunnenkamp. Prosecutors say DNA evidence show the men had sexual relations with the women, but more testing is needed to verify the difference in DNA between Virgil Sr. and Virgil Jr.


Stephen Marquez, 23, of North Platte, appeared Friday for preliminary hearings on drug possession and being a felon in possession of firearms. The drug charge was bound over to district court and the weapons charge was dismissed by Lincoln County Judge Kent Turnbull.

Marquez was charged with possessing a legend drug (K2) and codeine July 5after a traffic stop for speeding by Nebraska State Patrol Trooper Ryan Hayes.

Hayes testified in court that when he approached the car he could smell marijuana and when he asked Marquez about it, Marquez admitted having pipes and K2 in the car. While searching the car, Hayes said he found a plastic bottle and a baggie, both containing K2. He also found a pill wrapped up in cigarette pack cellophane in the center console. After the pill was tested, the State Patrol Crime Lab said it was codeine. Marquez said that he didn’t know about that pill and it wasn’t his.

Turnbull said there was enough evidence to bind the drug charges to district court.

The weapons charge came from traffic stop on Nov. 19 by a North Platte policeman for failure to signal a lane change. When asked by the officer if there were any drugs in the car, Marquez admitted having a pipe. He refused to let police search the car and a drug dog was called, which indicated the odor of drugs on the left passenger door, giving the police probable cause to search.

During the search, the pipe Marquez had admitted was found. And in the trunk, officers found two handguns and a shotgun. Marquez denied knowledge or ownership of the guns.

A passenger in the car, Ken Kassell, told police the guns were his.

Marquez is not allowed to possess guns because he was once convicted of felony drug possession in South Dakota.

Kassell gave only vague answers about where the guns were from and how he had obtained them. He told officers the guns had been in the car for several days and Marquez said he remembered Kassell putting something in the trunk, but didn’t know what it was.

Lincoln County Judge Kent Turnbull said he wasn’t totally convinced that Marquez “wasn’t up to something” but said he could not pass judgment on feelings.

“The facts here do not show that the guns were ever in the passenger compartment or within reach of Marquez,” Turnbull said. “There is not enough evidence to bind this charge over to district court and it’s dismissed.”

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The North Platte Bulletin - Published 12/14/2012
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