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District Court: Two years probation for attempted assaultTell North Platte what you think
Photo by Lincoln County Detention Center
Christopher Tagwerker
Photo by Lincoln County Detention Center
Daniel Founds
Photo by Lincoln County Detention Center
Cody Howard

A man who allegedly tried to run over a deputy with a pickup was sentenced Monday in Lincoln County District Court to 24 months’ probation.

Christopher Tagwerker, 34, was convicted of attempted second-degree assault on a peace officer.

Tagwerker was arrested March 2, two days after he fled from a deputy at the tail-race – the junction of the South Platte River and the Nebraska Public Power canal – where he and a woman were parked at midnight Feb. 28.

While the deputy was detaining the woman, Tagwerker reportedly removed a meth pipe from the scene, intensifying the confrontation, the sheriff's office said after he was arrested. The deputy said Tagwerker ignored three commands so he hit him with a taser, to no avail. Tagwerker got inside his pickup, locked the doors, then drove in the direction of the deputy, forcing the deputy to get behind his vehicle.

Tagwerker drove away, but officers caught him two days later, the sheriff’s office said.

In addition to the assault, Tagwerker was intially charged with tampering with evidence (meth pipe) and flight to avoid arrest in a motor vehicle.

In court on April 24, he pled guilty to attempted assault. The other charges were dismissed.

Somewhat surprisingly, the pre-sentence investigation report recommended him as a good candidate for probation, but Lincoln County Attorney Rebecca Harling asked for jail time because of “what could have been -- as a result of his actions -- by driving away and possibly harming the officer.”

Defense Attorney Kent Florom then spoke, and said he agreed with the PSI report.

“He was convicted of attempted assault and the officer was not harmed,” Florom said. “I completely understand the state’s prerogative to protect their officers, especially those out in the field, but I would ask the court to consider probation.”

Tagwerker told Lincoln County District Judge Richard Birch he was sorry for what happened.

Birch said he was “a little surprised” when he read that the PSI recommended probation and added, “Probably the main reason is because it shows you are a low risk of more violence and drugs.”

“I am willing to go along with it and let’s hope it is successful,” Birch said. “Ms. Harling makes a good point though. When somebody does something that places an officer in a position of jeopardy, I am always hesitant to sentence anything other than jail, because I don’t want to depreciate the seriousness of what happened.”

Birch noted that Tagwacker has already served 54 days, “which is an equivalent of 90 days” with good time provisions.

“So, you served a significant amount time in jail, which is a factor in my decision,” he said. “I am going with the recommendation and hope it works, but this is a close one.”

“I hope I don’t have to see you again,” he added.



In another sentencing, Daniel Founds, 31, was sentenced to 220 days in jail for theft by receiving items with a value of more than $1,500 but less than $5,000 and for carrying a concealed weapon, second offense.

He was arrested March 22, when police responded to a report that someone had stolen their pickup from their driveway.

Founds was located later driving the truck. He was charged with felony theft, driving under the influence (third offense), driving under suspension, refusal to submit to an alcohol test and with carrying a concealed weapon, which is a felony because of a prior conviction.  

Founds pled no contest in an agreement that lowered the severity of the theft charge, kept the weapon charge, and dismissed the rest.

Harling asked for sentences.

Florom asked that his client receive credit for the 96 days he has served and that the sentences run at the same time.

Harling did not object, but said “he must also serve nine months’ post-release supervision because they are felonies.”

Birch credited Founds with the 96 days, set the sentences to run at the same time, and ordered him to be supervised for nine months after he is released.

Founds has a lengthy record in Lincoln County that began in January when he drove a stolen SUV into the S. Platte River and set it on fire. When he got out of jail three weeks later, he was charged twice with breaking and entering, and when officers frisked him, they found a knife longer than 3.5 inches, a concealed weapon under Nebraska law.


In other sentencings Monday:


Birch also sentenced Cody Howard to 24 months’ probation for attempted first-degree forgery in a counterfeiting operation.

According to court records Howard, 26, was arrested March 24 when law enforcement responded to a report of fraud at Starting Gate Liquor. The store clerk told officers that a man had tried to pass a counterfeit $10 bill.

The clerk took down the vehicle license number, which led to Howard.

He admitted to being at the liquor store and gave officers consent to search his residence where they found a color printer, pieces of paper with $10 bills printed on them and $1 bills that had been bleached to remove markings so $10 bills could be printed on them.

Howard pled guilty in an agreement that reduced the charge.



Daniel Valencia was sentenced to 18 months’ probation for attempted possession of marijuana with intent to deliver.

Valencia, 22, pled guilty to the reduced charge and in exchange, the county offered probation.

He was arrested April 17 with 51 pounds of pot in the car after the Nebraska State Patrol stopped his vehicle for speeding. The officer smelled marijuana and conducted a search.

Defense Attorney Robert Lindemeier said his client has no previous record, lives in California and wants to return home to take care of his sick mother.

County Attorney Rebecca Harling said the probation period could be transferred to California.

Birch followed the recommendations of the plea agreement and approved probation. He ordered Valencia to pay court costs.



Randolph Dye, 30, was sentenced to 180 days in jail for domestic assault and possession of Adderall, but that added up to the time he's already served.

Chief Deputy County Attorney Tanya Roberts-Connick said the prosecution agreed the sentences could be served at the same time for both charges in exchange for his plea.

“He has been serving time in Lancaster County while awaiting sentencing here,” Roberts-Connick said. She had no objection to crediting him with the jail time he served in Lancaster County.

“I will go along with that and give you credit for the time you previously spent in Lancaster County and find that you had enough time -- in that these sentences have already been served,” Birch said.



Also, Dwight Coleman Jr., 45, was sentenced to 240 days in jail for driving under the influence of alcohol.

Birch credited him with 90 days served and ran the sentence concurrent with time he is serving for a separate misdemeanor.

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The North Platte Bulletin - Published 6/26/2017
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