Jordan M. Baker, 16, was convicted Monday of first-degree assault and use of deadly weapon in the stabbing of two women in July at a boys’ home on the north side of North Platte.Baker faces up to 50 years imprisonment on each count, with a minimum of one year per count.
Baker and another teen, Keenan Lambert, 18, allegedly stabbed the women with knives that they snuck out of the kitchen. The attack was deliberate, prosecutors said.
Police said the boys then stole one woman’s car and drove away from the building -- the Nebraska Youth Center at 18th and Washington. They were caught within hours on I-80 near Lexington.
Baker pled “no contest” to both charges in court. In exchange, prosecutors dropped charges of attempted murder, escape using force, and theft.
Lincoln County Attorney Rebecca Harling told the court that Baker stabbed Diana Johns, 40, twice in the neck.
Harling said the attempted murder charges were in line with other court decisions in similar cases.
Lincoln County District Judge Donald Rowlands noted that Baker’s charges were discussed in juvenile court and then returned to adult court.
According to testimony in county court as well as reports from family members, after the women were stabbed, they managed to lock themselves in the office, bind up their wounds with makeshift rags and call the police, who arrived promptly.
Baker reportedly accidently cut himself in the palm during the struggle. When Lambert went to help Baker, Johns helped the other woman -- Robin Schneider -- to her feet and they made for the office. Schneider was stabbed several times. Once they got inside the office, they managed to push the door shut against the teens and get it locked.
Johns was first taken to Great Plains Regional Medical Center in North Platte. About four hours after the stabbing, she was flown from North Platte to Creighton Hospital in Omaha for close monitoring.
She is still recovering -- undergoing physical therapy and seeing a counselor. She suffers tingling when she extends her arm, a sign of nerve damage.
Harling told the court that Johns is well aware of the plea agreement.
Rowlands set Baker’s sentencing for April 28.
A few days after the stabbings, the other boys in the home were transferred to another building on East Second -- the former Boys and Girls Home in North Platte. Plans were underway to make the move before the stabbing occured. The new building is said to be more secure.
The building where the stabbing occured at 18th and Washington was closed.
This report was corrected Feb. 26 to clarify the charges of which Baker was convicted. - Editor.