Matthew H. Bobo
Two North Platte men, Britton Renfrow and Matt Bobo, were sentenced to the state penitentiary Monday for weapons and assault crimes.
The pair were once accused of attempted homicide and engineering a meth deal that went bad, but prosecutors dropped the drug charges in exchange for guilty pleas for other crimes.
Renfrow, 22, will serve 5–10 years for his part in a shooting after a botched robbery.
Lincoln County District Judge Donald Rowlands sentenced Renfrow to one term of 5–10 years for second-degree assault, plus a concurrent sentence of 1½-3 years for possession of a defaced firearm.
Bobo, 29, was sentenced to 1½-3 years for possession of a defaced firearm – a handgun that had its serial number removed -- and attempted robbery.
Bobo was once charged with possession of a controlled substance but that charge was dropped.
Renfrow was arrested on April 11. Bobo was arrested the next day and another North Platte resident, Ethen Bentley, was arrested two days later for their involvement in the same crime.
Prosecutors have said the men attempted to steal an 8 ball (3.5 ounces) of methamphetamine from Benjamin Newman, 30, when they met Newman in a car parked in the 1700 block of North Franklin.
Newman managed to get out of the car and run. Renfrow allegedly stepped out and shot him in the left leg as he ran.
Investigators believe that Bentley tried to talk Renfrow and Bobo out of the deal.
Lincoln County Attorney Rebecca Harling said Bobo was carrying a defaced gun during the attempted robbery and he pointed it at Ethan Bentley in the car and threatened him when Bentley tried to talk them out of the robbery.
Newman made it to the emergency room at Great Plains Regional Medical Center around 1 a.m. on April 11, and the medical staff called police. His wound was not life threatening. Newman told police he was shot in the leg by a man he did not know.
Police soon found a suspected car on the north side of town. Police stopped the car after a short chase, but Renfrow bailed out and ran, but didn’t get far.
Bobo was arrested later that night walking on the Jeffers St. overpass, carrying a gun and what appeared to be some methamphetamine, police said. Police picked up Bentley a couple days later.
Bentley served 118 days in jail. He was released on Aug. 12.
At the sentencing, defense attorney P. Stephen Potter called Bobo to the witness stand and asked him about the defaced gun.
Bobo said he bought it outside the North Platte Pawn Shop.
“I intended to add it to my collection of three other guns and never noticed the serial number had been removed,” he said.
“Who did you buy the gun from?” Harling asked.
“He said his name was Joe,” Bobo answered.
“You bought a gun outside the pawn shop on just a first name basis?” Harling asked.
“Yes, I’ve bought guns that way before and have receipts,” Bobo said.
“Do you have a receipt for this one?” Harling asked.
“No,” Bobo said.
Bobo is a talented musician and actor. He played guitar and sang in several places in North Platte and once had a major role in a community playhouse production of Dr. Seuss.
Lincoln County District Judge Donald Rowlands told him there was no choice but to sentence him to the pen.
“Your priors include shoplifting, three DUIs, probation violations and a failure to appear, which are not major,” Rowlands told Bobo. “You were also unsatisfactorily discharged from the U.S. Air Force during boot camp for misconduct.”
But Rowlands said, “On a class III felony, my hands are tied and I cannot sentence you to the county jail.”
Bobo will get credit for 170 days he has served in the county jail.