George Tzakis, who allegedly threatened to blow up an I-80 travel center in North Platte, appeared in court Thursday via video to face criminal charges.
Tzakis allegedly threatened to blow up the building at Love's on May 18, fought with customers and resisted arrest. Police said he made strange comments about the CIA and being “God." He is charged with making terrorisitic threats and felony assault of a police officer.
Defense attorney Robert Lindemeier greeted Tzakis in court and asked him if he was well. Tzakis said that he was not.
Lindemeier asked Tzakis if he remembered talking with associate attorney Amanda Speichert. He said yes. Lindemeier asked what he and Speichert had decided.
“I don't believe I decided to have a hearing that isn't contested,“ Tzakis said.
“Is that what you want to do?” Lindemeier asked. Tzakis said yes, that is what he wanted.
Lincoln County Judge Kent Turnbull set June 5 for a contested preliminary hearing.
Tzakis said he had a court date in Chicago on June 3. Turnbull said that he wanted to be sure that Tzakis understood that if he posted bond he would still be required to be in court in Lincoln County.
Tzakis asked if he would be able to make his court date in Chicago.
“You won't be making that date in Chicago because you won't be getting out,” Turnbull said, "but let’s deal with that when we get there."
Turnbull also told Tzakis that Lindemeier was appointed to represent him.
“Do you understand that?” he asked.
Tzakis said he wanted to prepay for his legal services.
Turnbull said he understood that, but would assign a lawyer if he couldn't afford one.
Tzakis asked for permission to speak. Turnbull told him he could after his rights were explained, and then informed him of the maximum penalties -- up to five years in prison, a $10,000 fine or both for each felony.
After explaining each charge, Turnbull told the court to note that they failed to have an arraignment previously because of Tzakis erratic behavior, but that Tzakis behaved much better today.
He then gave Tzakis a chance to speak.
Tzakis again said he prepaid legal services to represent him in all the charges. And, he complained that he was not allowed phone access to use an 800 number.
Turnbull advised him to give the number to his attorney who could make his call.
Tzakis then complained of food, housing and conditions in the jail.
“I have been held for over 101 hours in a small cell with very little food,” he said. He also said he had been unable to talk to his priest or bring his bible into his cell.
“They tell me to shut up” he said.
Tzakis said his rights were violated and again said he couldn’t make an 800 number phone call. Turnbull interrupted and said that they would make sure Lindemeier gets the phone number.
“I am not being treated like a human, I am treated like a dog,” Tzakis said.
Turnbull said his attorney had heard the complaints and would meet and talk with him about each issue. Turnbull also said he would talk to the jailers and discuss the things he brought to the court’s attention.