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Murderous suspects appear in courtTell North Platte what you think

The two men charged with attempted murders last weekend both appeared Thursday in Lincoln County Court.

Tanner Matthies, 20, of North Platte, is accused of deliberately running into a man with his pickup and pushing him through the front window of the Perkins Restaurant early Sunday morning.

Matthies declined a public defender and told Judge Michael Piccolo that he intends to hire his attorney but needs time to prepare.

Piccolo continued the case for a week.

Matthies is held in jail on a $1 million bond.


Miguel J. Fernandez, 25, of North Platte, is accused of firing a shotgun toward a woman at a home near 4th and Willow early Monday morning. Fernandez was scheduled for a preliminary hearing Thursday, but defense attorney Blaine Gillette asked Judge Kent Turnbull to schedule a contested preliminary hearing because some statements by witnesses are in conflict.

Gillette told the court that the victim said that Fernandez fired a shotgun into a stairwell where she was standing but Miguel’s brother said that he fired it into a wall after he told the woman it was just a warning shot.

The woman was not injured.

Apparently, those involved were highly intoxicated when police arrived, attorneys said.

In a contested hearing, witnesses are called into court to testify and have to make their statements under oath.

Turnbull agreed to set a contested hearing, and kept Miguel’s bond at $500,000.

Other court action


Stephen Marquez, 24, of North Platte, waived a preliminary hearing on a burglary charge and his case was bound over to district court. Marquez is charged with stealing a pickup load of items in the darkness early Saturday morning from ABC Auto Salvage.

Public defender Blaine Gillette asked for a bond reduction and Turnbull lowered the bond by half to $12,500.


Christopher Russell, 19, of North Platte, waived his preliminary hearing on first-degree sexual assault of a child and his case was bound over to district court.

Russell was arrested March 1 after a 14 year-old girl’s mother told police that Russell and her daughter were involved in an intimate relationship.

The young girl said the relationship was consensual, but regardless, Nebraska law makes it illegal for anyone over age 19 to have sex with anyone under 16.

Deputy Lincoln County Attorney Austen Leighty told the court that Russell is being investigated on sexual assaults of other young girls and new charges may arise.

Defense attorney Blaine Gillette asked for a bond reduction and it was denied. Russell’s bond remains at $150,000 for the assault charge, plus $25,000 on a bond revocation from previous charges.


Brian Miller, 20, pleaded guilty to theft, taking a plea deal that amended his charge from a felony to a misdemeanor.

Miller will be back in court for sentencing on May 13.

Miller has served 39 days in jail and Turnbull let him out on an own recognizance bond until sentencing.

Miller is the son of the owner of Miller Repair in Maxwell and was involved in the theft of tractor wheel weights from the business, prosecutors said.

Along with Kyer Feeney and Dylan DiGiovanni, Miller allegedly worked to steal nearly two tons of tractor wheel weights. The weights turned up at North Platte Metals, which steered police to the suspects.

Restitution is under consideration, Deputy County Attorney Austin Leighty said.

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The North Platte Bulletin - Published 3/15/2013
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