Teenager Dillon White appeared before Lincoln County Court judge Kent Turnbull Thursday on a charge of possession of a stolen firearm.A handgun that was used in a shooting March 6 was traced back to its original owner. The investigation led to White, 18, who was arrested March 24.
The shooting occurred in the 1100 block of W. 11th. Cristian Vera, 19, was charged with first-degree assault. The victim, Joshell Green, 18, was hospitalized with a life-threatening head wound, but has survived.
Police believe Bryce Wood, 17, stole the gun from the owner then gave it to White, who later traded the gun in a deal for some marijuana.
White was arrested Monday, March 27 and taken to jail. He is held on a $25,000 bond.
In court, White’s public defense attorney Michael Nozicka asked Lincoln County Judge Kent Turnbull for more time to prepare his defense. He said he had not yet talked with his client.
He also noted that White, a senior in high school, would like to get on with his studies and his life.
Nozicka said he could certainly appreciate the bond amount because of the seriousness of the crime, but asked the court to consider a reduction.
Turnbull addressed White, and stressed that possession of a stolen handgun is "a big deal.” He asked White's father if his son had been having problems at home.
Mr. White said his son lives with his grandmother, and had never been in trouble before, and he didn't understand what caused this to happen. He said his son is on track to graduate in May.
“It is a pretty serious offense,” Nozicka said, “but if you remove the collateral damage that occurred from his actions, it is just a first offense and he would like to get out.”
Turnbull said that everyone in jail would like to get out.
“If I was in jail, I would like to get out,” he said.
On the other hand, Turnbull expressed sympathy for the fact that White might not graduate if he didn’t get back to classes.
“I am reluctant to keep a teenager in jail,” he said, “but because of the seriousness of the crime, which is a felony, I can only lower bond so much.”
He asked the family if they had funds to post bond so White could be released.
“Not at this time,” his father said. “If we did, he would be out.”
Deputy County Attorney Angela Franz also showed respect for the fact that White is scheduled to graduate, but she objected to a low bond amount.
“He has no record before this,” she said, “but he traded a gun for marijuana and it led to a shooting.”
White’s father told Turnbull that the school provided him with assignments to give his son and he would continue to get material from other classes to take to him.
Turnbull finally lowered the bond to $10,000.
“That is as low as I will go on this,” he told White, “but I will listen to bond requests again next week after you talk with your attorney.”
If White is released on bond, he can only be in the company of his father, a grandparent or the school. He cannot go any place that serves or sells alcohol or take any non-prescribed drugs. He will be subject to drug and alcohol testing at any time by law enforcement, nor can he have any weapons, according to the terms of the bond established Thursday by the court.
In other court proceedings Thursday, Terrance Alexander, 20, appeared on two separate cases before Lincoln County Judge Michael Piccolo.
Alexander was charged after a party on March 3 at a rural home west of North Platte, where he allegedly made threats to others while holding a handgun.
Since then, he has been charged with possession of a stolen firearm as well as distribution of marijuana.
Defense Attorney Patrick Heng asked for more time to prepare the defense, saying he needed time to review the latest charges.
With no objection from the prosecution, Piccolo continued Alexander’s two cases. Meanwhile, Alexander remains in jail, held on a $100,000 bond.
In another gun case, Anthony Fleecs, 19, waived his right to a preliminary hearing on two counts of aiding and abetting use of a firearm to commit a felony. The charge was bound over to district court.
After examining the police reports, Defense Attorney Blaine Gillett told Fleecs it was in his best interest to take the case to district.
In exchange for the waiver, Gillett requested a standard 50% bond reduction.
“A shotgun was used to threaten the victim,” she said, “and he encouraged him to shoot.”
Turnbull reduced bond from $100,000 to $75,000.
Fleecs, along with Brian Parra-Munoz, 20, and Tyrone Brave, 20, were arrested March 23 and charged with physically and verbally assaulting an 18-year-old man, and threatening him with a shotgun.
Police said Parra-Munoz chambered a round in a shotgun and pointed it at the victim, and Brave and Fleecs urged Parra-Munoz to shoot, although he didn’t. Later, Brave punched the victim in the face and knocked him down, while the other two men stood over the victim and berated him.