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County Court report: Man didn't stay away Tell North Platte what you think
Courtesy Photo­Image
Travis J. Johnson
Courtesy Photo­Image
Brian Miller
Courtesy Photo­Image
Luke Hartmann

Travis Johnson was in court for the second time in one week Thursday on charges related to domestic violence.

Johnson is charged with violating a protection order, second offense.

Previously on May 22, he was charged with felony domestic assault, resisting police and misdemeanor child neglect. He waived his right to a preliminary hearing, and defense attorney Blaine Gillett asked that the amount of his bond be reduced.

Lincoln County Attorney Rebecca Harling objected, citing Johnson’s history of domestic assaults. Harling said this was Johnson's third domestic assault charge and his second resisting arrest charge.

“His eight-year-old daughter observed the event, and there was allegedly a grab around the throat," Harling said.

Nevertheless, Johnson received the reduction but was ordered not to contact the woman if he got out of jail.  

Harling's concerns proved legitimate. Johnson got out on a personal recognizance bond, according to sheriff’s records. He was arrested again on May 26, this time for violating the no-contact order. 

In court Thursday, Johnson waived his right to a preliminary hearing on the newest charge and his case was bound over to district court.

Defense Attorney Amanda Speichert again asked for the standard 50-percent bond reduction in exchange for waiving his right to a preliminary hearing.

Prosecutor Jennifer Wellan expressed no objection this time, and the bond was reduced to 10 percent of $5,000, with the same no-contact stipulation.



Brian Miller, 21, was convicted of shoplifting.

Miller was originally charged with felony shoplifting. Police said he tried to walk out of the store without paying for a 40” flat screen television.

Miller agreed to plead no contest to misdemeanor shoplifting. He has been in jail since the charges were filed.

He was sentenced to 65 days in jail, plus court costs, but received credit for the 67 days he’s served.

The extra two days cover the court costs.


Brian Spotts, accused of drug distribution, waived his right to a preliminary hearing on advice of defense attorney Mark McKeone.

McKeone told Spotts that he would drop by the jail to discuss the contents of a letter that he received from the county attorney concerning the pending charges.



Luke Hartmann was convicted of disturbing the peace Thursday after he yelled at animal shelter employees in a dispute over his pit bull.  

Hartmann at first pled guilty to the charge but later changed his plea to no contest.

On April 7, police were called to the North Platte animal shelter. Police said Hartmann caused a disturbance there.

He was upset that his dog had been impounded. He was asked to leave, but continued to yell at employees and law officers on his way out. 

Turnbull told Hartmann that this is his fourth disturbing the peace charge and advised him that penalties are progressive – they get stiffer each time.  

The basis for the charges were read by Deputy County Attorney Austin Leighty. Hartmann said he disagreed with some of the facts.

Turnbull told him he could plea no-contest and retract his original guilty plea, and he changed his plea. 

Then Turnbull gave Hartmann a he chance to speak before issuing sentence.

Hartmann said he was upset because he was first told he could take his pit bull home, but it was impounded instead.

He said his pit bull had bit him on the hand. He said a shelter employee told him they had to impound the dog and investigate further.

Hartmann feared they would euthanize the dog. He said he worked at the shelter before when he was in trouble.

Turnbull said as a former employee, Hartmann should realize that a dog cannot be euthanized without proper procedures.

Being upset didn't give Hartmann the right to yell and be rude to employees, Turnbull said.

“I know my action was not right and I apologized right after it happened. I just didn't like what was happening," Hartmann said. 

"There lots of things that happen that I don't like, but I can't get upset or I would get in trouble," Turnbull said. Then he fined Hartmann $500.

"Was it worth $500?" Turnbull asked.

"I was just mad, but if you knew my dog, or had one like mine, I bet you would have done the same thing," Hartmann said.

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The North Platte Bulletin - Published 5/29/2014
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