Photo by Lincoln County Detention Center
Jason L. Sellers
Jason Sellers was sentenced to 6-8 years in prison Monday for a felon in possession of a weapon, domestic abuse, strangulation, flight to avoid prosecution and violation of a protection order.Chief Deputy County Attorney Tanya Roberts-Connick recommended the sentence, noting Sellers' multiple domestic assault convictions.
Defense Attorney Calvin Hansen said his client has made encouraging changes in his life.
“He has taken positive steps and entered programs to help him change his behavior,” Hansen said. “I have visited with this man for two years. He needs guidance and needs to take advantage of available help to become productive. He doesn’t want to be here. The county doesn’t want him back here. You don’t want him here. We want him to be taking care of his family.”
Hansen noted that “prisons are full and they still argue about doing away with mandatory minimum sentences.”
Sellers, 37, said he wants to change his life and stay out of trouble.
But in response, Lincoln County District Judge Donald Rowlands said Sellers’ criminal history goes back to 1993 when, as a juvenile, he was charged with theft. He broke probation and was committed to the Youth Rehabilitation Treatment Center in Kearney.
Rowlands went over Seller’s history, which includes several sentences of probation as well as jail time.
”You served 90 days two different times for domestic assault before going to prison for the same charge,” he said. “The presentence investigation report says you are a very high risk to reoffend.”
“Your attorney is right about the legislation trying to reduce mandatory sentences,” Rowlands added, “but our governor has said he will veto any legislation that comes his way eliminating minimum sentences, so my hands are bound fairly tightly on the felony possession of a firearm.”
Rowlands issued several sentences for the charges -- 6-6 years for the major charges and 2-2 years for the minor charges, ensuring that Sellers’ prison sentence would be at least six years. However, he gave Sellers credit for 290 days he’s already served in jail, which will come off the six-year sentences.
Hansen asked if his client, who was free on bail pending sentencing, could have time to report. Rowlands said that is not allowed in prison sentencing and ordered Sellers to be taken into custody.
As Sellers sat in the front row awaiting transport to the jail, his sister came to the front and held onto his neck before he was led away, while his mother sobbed.
Sellers was charged with the domestic assault on Sept. 23, 2015 in the 300 block of N. Custer. He initially sped away from police when they tried to pull him over, but turned himself in a couple days later. A gun was found in the car.
(This report was clarified Tuesday, March 14. -Editor)