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Sailor sentenced to 14-22 years for sexual assaultTell North Platte what you think
Courtesy Photo­Image
Stephen J. Schaetzle
Courtesy Photo­Image
Alicia L. Suhr
Courtesy Photo­Image
Marcus D. Thomas

Stephen Schaetzle was sentenced Monday 14-22 years imprisonment for sexual assault of a minor.

Lincoln County District Judge Richard Birch handed down the sentence, giving Schaetzle credit for 93 days served.

Schaetzle was convicted on March 13 after a two-day trial before a jury of 10 men and 2 women.

The victim said that Schaetzle raped her in February 2006 while he was in North Platte for a family gathering.

The victim and Schaetzle are cousins. Their families celebrated a belated Christmas celebration in 2006 when Schaetzle, who was in the Navy, returned from an assignment in Japan.

There is no statute of limitations on sexual assaults.

The woman was 14 at the time. Schaetzle, now 28, is six years older.

The woman testified that they were drinking in a motel room, trying to comfort each other over the suicide of Schaetzle’s brother. She said Schaetzle became assertive and eventually forced her to have sex. She said she didn’t call out for help because she was scared and didn’t know how to react.

The woman didn’t report the act for six and a half years. Then she told her father and then her mother and her father contacted the Nebraska State Patrol.

The NSP conducted an extensive investigation. After a three-hour interview, Schaetzle admitted to the investigator that he did something, but he would not spell it out in writing. Later, he recanted, saying his admission was a false confession.

Lincoln County District Judge Richard Birch presided. Prosecutor Tanya Roberts-Connick showed the jury the full 3-hour video of the Nebraska State Patrol interview with Schaetzle. The woman testified at length.

Defense Attorney Kent Florom said the woman made contradictory statements to investigators and attorneys. The woman said she had a hard time remembering the details because she was intimidated and scared during the State Patrol interviews, especially in the early stages, and she had tried for years to put it out of her mind.

She said Schaetzle told her during and after intercourse that it was something that family does for one another and no one would believe her if she told them.

She said she did her best to put it out of her mind but she finally needed to tell someone.

Florom tried to establish reasonable doubt that his client was guilty. The jury deliberated for an hour, then returned with a guilty verdict. Schaetzle was immediately taken to jail.

Schaetzle was living in Colorado Springs before the trial. He was in the naval reserve. He wore his uniform throughout the trial. 


In other sentencings Monday:

Alicia Suhr will spend 2-6 years in prison for attempted possession of amphetamines under a sentence handed down by Lincoln County District Judge Donald Rowlands.

Suhr, 35, was arrested in October for failure to appear in court. Police found her riding in a car driven by Tim Caudillo. Police said they searched the car and the suspects and found drug equipment commonly used to ingest meth, plus a small baggie of suspected meth and a digital scale

Suhr was taken to jail where, under booking procedures, she was searched again. A bag of suspected meth, plus unspecified drug paraphernalia, were found in her underwear. The bag weighed nearly a half-ounce, leading to a distribution charge, police spokesman John Deal said.

She has served 197 days in jail on the charges since then, for which she received credit.

She has been arrested eight times since 2012 on a variety of charges.



Marcus Dewayne Thomas, 36, was sentenced to 5 years in the penitentiary for attempted robbery in September of the B and Jeffers Kwik Stop.  

Police said Thomas walked behind the counter, stuck a BB gun hard against the clerk’s side and demanded she open the cash register. Thomas removed nearly $150 from the drawer and demanded access to another register, where he stole another $75.

Thomas and the getaway vehicle were soon indentified with the help of an off-duty police officer, and a short time later police found Thomas in the parking lot of the Fat Dog on the south side of the I-80 interchange, near Eugene and U.S. Highway 83.

The BB handgun that Thomas used in the robbery was stolen earlier that day from Wal-Mart by his wife, police said.

The stolen money was recovered.

Thomas served 39 days after his arrest and then went to treatment, according to sheriff's records.


DUI 3rd offense

Dwayne Blair, 49, was sentenced to 130 days in jail for driving under the influence, third offense and fined $500. Birch credited him with 40 days served in jail.


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The North Platte Bulletin - Published 8/4/2014
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