PLATTSMOUTH – A Plattsmouth man who shot a woman in the arm in late September pled guilty to three felony charges Monday morning.
Jesse E. Ferguson, 37, appeared in Cass County District Court for a plea hearing. He admitted guilt to a Class IIA felony of second-degree assault and two additional Class IV felony counts. Those charges were tampering with physical evidence and tampering with a witness.
The state agreed to dismiss a Class II felony charge of first-degree assault and a pair of Class IC felony charges of use of a firearm to commit a felony. The state also agreed to recommend a sentence of 10-15 years in state prison.
Plattsmouth police responded to the 200 block of South 7th Street at 2:30 a.m. Sept. 30 for an emergency call. They learned Jamie Bangs, 45, had been shot in the arm. Cass County Attorney Colin Palm told the court officers found her in the house and saw injuries consistent with bullet wounds.
Plattsmouth Rescue personnel transported Bangs to an Omaha hospital for treatment. Police learned Ferguson had been in the house and had left shortly after neighbors heard a loud noise.
Officers located Ferguson’s empty vehicle on Livingston Road at 3:26 a.m. They later found him walking on Livingston Road at 4:45 a.m. They arrested him without incident and transported him to Cass County Jail.
Palm said Ferguson initially denied shooting Bangs but later admitted the incident had taken place. Ferguson said he had been dry-firing a .45-caliber handgun when the weapon accidentally discharged. He told authorities he panicked and left the house after that.
Palm said Ferguson told authorities he had thrown the gun and a loaded magazine out of his car after he left the house. Ferguson took authorities to a location where he believed he had gotten rid of the weapon. They searched that area but were unable to locate the gun or magazine.
Palm said the victim later told authorities Ferguson had been upset about the gun when he visited the house that night. She said she believed the shooting was accidental and did not feel Ferguson intended to harm her with the weapon.
Palm said the state filed the tampering with a witness charge based on phone conversions that took place in Cass County Jail between Ferguson and a family member. He said Cass County Jail officials had listened to several conversations on both Nov. 13 and 14.
Palm said Ferguson was referring to the victim when he told the relative that “she cannot cooperate” and “make sure that happens.” Ferguson also told the relative, “Do not cooperate. Don’t answer nothing. Do not cooperate.” Palm said the state was concerned about the nature of those instructions and if the victim would be impacted by them.
Ferguson remains in Cass County Jail on a bond of $1 million, 10 percent. A sentencing hearing will take place Feb. 11.