A carnival worker who has been locked up for assault since Nebraskaland Days finally got out of jail Thursday. Stephen Terrell, 36, of Indiana, appeared in front of Lincoln County Judge Kent Turnbull Thursday for a preliminary hearing charge of aggravated assault.
Terrell was arrested June 17, after Michael Henchel, 56, showed up at the medical center with an injury to his face.
Police said apparently the two men argued while they were working for the carnival. Terrell had come down from climbing one of the towers at the fun house and on the way down kicked the victim in the face.
In court, defense attorney Kent Florom was prepared for the hearing, but due to a miscommunication in the county attorney’s office, Deputy County Attorney Austen Leighty was not. Leighty did not have the case file with him, nor had a police officer who was the primary witness been notified.
Leighty asked Turnbull for a few minutes recess to retrieve Terrell’s file from the county attorney’s office. However, Florom moved to dismiss the charges.
“My client has been in jail since June 17 and this case is just languishing,” Florom said.
Turnbull agreed that it could be dismissed, but he also said as soon as Terrell would be released, deputies could re-arrest him on the same charge.
Florom withdrew his dismissal motion and Turnbull gave Leighty a few minutes to get the case file.
When Leighty returned, Lincoln County Attorney Rebecca Harling was with him. She and Leighty conferred and then offered to drop the charge from a felony to a misdemeanor in exchange for a guilty plea. Leighty also asked the court to order Terrell to pay $30,000 restitution to Henchel to pay his medical bills.
Leighty said a metal plate had to be medically implanted in the victim’s face.
Turnbull sentenced Terrell to 100 days jail, which, with the “good time” provision, equals 65 days. Turnbull also gave Terrell credit for 66 days served, so Terrell was to be released.
After discussing the fact that Terrell and the victim travel with the carnival, Turnbull decided to award $5,000 restitution to Great Plains Regional Medical Center. He said the medical center could go after the rest of the money in civil court.
Terrell would be required to sign a payment schedule with the court, Turnbull said.