Photo by Lincoln County Detention Center
Jesus Montana, 58, appeared in court Monday on two shoplifting charges, along with a trespassing charge.Montana is homeless and has been frequently seen around town in recent years, often sweeping sidewalks downtown. He loves to talk and is often congenial and engaging, telling intriguing, fantastical stories about his life.
Back on Dec. 5, Montana was sentenced to 364 days for stealing a can of pop from Gary’s Super Foods. It was his sixth arrest in 2016, all on minor charges of petty theft and trespassing, and it was his 20th arrest in five years, according to Lincoln County sheriff’s records.
First offense shoplifting of petty items is only a misdemeanor, but each additional shoplifting charge is a felony, regardless of the price of the stolen item, under Nebraska law.
Montana stole the pop in September. By the time he was sentenced he’d served more than two months. In March, with good time added, he was released and he began nine months of probation.
However on April 16, he was again charged with shoplifting and trespassing, and taken to jail.
In court Monday, Defense Attorney Martin Troshynski noted that his client has been in and out of jail for similar charges and would not be opposed to an evaluation of his mental competency, which prosecutors have been concerned about for some time.
Deputy Lincoln County Attorney Angela Franz formally asked the court to test Montana’s competency.
Lincoln County Judge Richard Birch ordered an evaluation and set Sept. 11 for Montana’s next court date. In the meantime, he remains behind bars.
• Rick Reeves, 47, was sentenced to 24 months’ probation for an Oct. 9 charge of marijuana possession.
• Jobie Loving, 20, was sentenced to 12 months’ probation after he pled no contest to third-degree assault. He was charged on March 4.