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Subdued Alspaugh appears in courtTell North Platte what you think
Courtesy Photo­Image
Clarence E. Alspaugh, State penitentiary, 2012
Courtesy Photo­Image
Clarence E. Alspaugh, county jail 2014

After kicking up a fight, cussing detention officers and Lincoln County Judge Kent Turnbull, a subdued Clarence Alspaugh appeared Thursday in court via video screen from the jail.

Alspaugh was the last inmate to appear during the court sessions Thursday. He was brought alone into the jail’s video arraignment room, wearing handcuffs.

Turnbull told jailers that if he gave them any trouble, to take him back to his cell.

Officers had plenty of reasons to be leery.

Before Alspaugh was arrested a week earlier, and ran, hid and then fought when he was found and charged. At the jail, he was put in a heavy, tear-resistant safety uniform known as a Ferguson smock, often used if an inmate is unruly or on suicide watch.

Alspaugh faces charges of resisting arrest and obstruction of a police officer, as well as disturbing the peace on March 9 for threatening a woman. He is also charged with forging checks in January.

Police were watching for Alspaugh when a patrol officer saw him on foot on March 20. But Alspaugh ran away near Washington Elementary school. The school was locked down as a precaution. Backups were called and a search began. Alspaugh was found hiding under a car about 20 minutes later, police investigator John Deal said.

The next day, Alspaugh was still highly combative when he appeared in court from the jail’s video arraignment room. He cussed at Turnbull. With the conversation deteriorating, Turnbull told officers to bring him across the street to the courtroom. As Alspaugh left the video room, he flipped off Turnbull and then threatened to spit at him.

He was put into handcuffs, leg chains as well as a “spit mask” – a hood that covered his mouth, and taken to the courthouse.

The conversation in the courtroom was “very verbal,” Sgt. Dave Grandel of sheriff’s office said. Alspaugh remained unruly. Turnbull sentenced him to 30 days for contempt of court, then 60 days, then 90 days.

Alspaugh called Turnbull a bitch as he left the room. He was taken down the elevator and to the north doors on the way outside to the transport van. When he reached the north doors, even though he was in handcuffs and leg chains, he turned on the three female officers who were escorting him. He tried to elbow Cpl. Amber McIntosh and hit his head on the door. Once outside, the women put him on the ground, but he kept fighting so he was tasered, Grandel said.

A taser fires an electrical current, disrupting control of muscles, causing incapacitation.

When Alspaugh was capable of walking a few minutes later, he was taken to the van. But once inside, he fought again. He bent down and tried to pull the hood off with his cuffed hands, and then tried to head-butt an officer who intervened.

He was tasered again, Grandel said.

On Thursday, Alspaugh arrived in the video room in handcuffs. He remained calm during the hearing. He was represented by attorney Martin J. Troshynski.

Alspaugh apologized to Turnbull for his actions. Turnbull accepted his apology and told him that if he becomes a model inmate and causes no problems, he would consider running a contempt sentence concurrently, thus reducing it to 60 days.

Turnbull asked jailers to keep him up-to-date on Alspaugh’s behavior, and told Alspaugh he would apply “good time” if he behaves, which would cut the sentence a little shorter.

Alspaugh asked about bond reduction. Turnbull told him there would be no reduction while he serves the contempt sentence. Alspaugh is held on $60,000 in bonds.  

Alspaugh also asked that the no-contact order be dismissed so he could talk to the woman. Turnbull told him that it would be up to his attorney to make that agreement.

Troshynski said his client will contest the felony charges of resisting an officer and forgery.

Sgt. Grandel complimented the work of the three women -- McIntosh and Detention Officers Alexandra Varney and Shanna Hamilton -- who kept Alspaugh in custody on March 21.

"They did their jobs," he said. "We're pleased with their work."

Chief Deputy Roland Kramer said all too often it takes a week or more for someone who is arrested to calm down and realize what they are facing.

Without commenting specifically on Alspaugh, Kramer said drug abuse is too often a factor. 

Alspaugh was previously arrested in January 2012, charged for burglarizing a garage. After a month in jail, Alspaugh attacked another inmate who was sleeping.

He was convicted of assault on a confined person and sentenced in March 2012 to 1-3 years in the state pententiary. He was released in October.  


Reporter Joe Chitwood contributed to this report.

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The North Platte Bulletin - Published 3/28/2014
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