Justin Valentine, 24, was convicted of assault and leaving the scene of an accident Thursday. Several other charges were dropped in Lincoln County Court.Valentine appeared for sentencing for writing bad checks and also to face other charges, including leaving the scene of an accident, obstructing a police officer, third-degree assault and theft.
In a plea agreement, Valentine pled no contest to leaving the scene of an accident and pled guilty to third-degree assault. In exchange, the other charges were dismissed.
Deputy County Attorney Jennifer Clements asked for a 180-day jail sentence and restitution for the bad checks.
"I am requesting this longer sentence based upon his previous record," Clements said.
Valentine evaded police for more than two months before he was finally caught June 26.
On April 19, police went to a home in the 1000 block of West E. A 64-year-old man said he stayed in a car outside the house because he'd heard Valentine was inside. He said he’d fought with Valentine in the past and wanted to avoid him.
But Valentine came out of the house and punched him in the face anyway, the man said. He later learned he had a broken nose, according to police spokesman Rodney Brown.
Police were unable to find Valentine at the time but issued a warrant for first-degree assault.
On June 24 an officer saw Valentine driving south on Willow near W. Ninth.
As the officer turned his car around, Valentine went west on Tenth and then south on Ash. Valentine lost control, left the road and hit a fence, pickup topper and garage door in the 400 block of West Ninth, doing about $650 in damage.
Valentine got away on foot.
Investigators also found that he was wanted on charges of writing bad checks. More warrants were issued for reckless driving, no operator’s license, resisting arrest and leaving the scene of an accident.
Two days later, around 2 p.m. June 26, police received a report about a stolen or lost wallet belonging to a 19-year-old man. The man reportedly lost the wallet a few days earlier and had just learned that somone tried to use his credit card at Wal-Mart for around $700, an also tried to make an online purchase of around $500.
A short time later, police learned that Valentine had been to Bridge Street Auto and tried to use the teenager’s ID to test-drive a vehicle. But, an employee at Bridge Street knew the victim and confronted Valentine. Valentine drove away in a Ford Focus.
The owner of the car was identified, which led officers to a house in the 1300 block of East 15th, where they found Valentine.
Valentine was finally taken to jail, where he has been since.
In court Thursday, he was ordered repay four parties -- $66.46 to Hiline Coop, $300.68 to Menards, $990.15 to one person and $2,230.14 to another.
Following the deputy county attorney's recommendation, Piccolo sentenced Valentine to three 180-day sentences, and he set the sentences concurrently (at the same time.) He told Valentine to make arrangements with all parties to pay restitution.
Valentine was also ordered to pay court costs, and was told to make a time-pay arrangement with the court office.