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Lyons man sentenced to up to five years in prison for hitting man with truck

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A 25-year-old Lyons man was sentenced to three to five years in the Nebraska State Penitentiary Monday for intentionally striking a man with his truck last year.

Joshua D. McMullin also pleaded no contest to possession of a firearm by a prohibited person and theft in the Dodge County District Court that same day.

On Oct. 5, 2020, Fremont Police Department officers were dispatched to Methodist Fremont Health in regard to a male victim with injuries he said were from a hit-and-run earlier that day, according to a police report.

The victim said that he arrived at a south Fremont residence to talk to a woman about their relationship. At the residence, the victim got into a heated argument with McMullin about the woman before leaving on foot.

When the victim was approximately one to two blocks away, he heard a motor vehicle approach from behind. A witness at the residence described seeing McMullin leave the residence, enter his truck and strike the victim, causing him to fly into the air.

According to the report, the victim attempted to tend to his own injuries, but was taken to the hospital a few hours later by witnesses after he started to vomit blood.

On Feb. 22, McMullin pleaded guilty to second-degree assault and failing to stop and render aid. He told Judge Geoffrey Hall at the hearing that he was serious about getting help for his addiction.

However, McMullin failed to appear for his sentencing on April 5 and a bench warrant of $150,000 was placed for his arrest.

On May 31, an FPD officer located a pickup truck in southeast Fremont that was reported stolen out of Monroe. A loaded handgun was found underneath the driver’s seat.

A witness told the officer they saw McMullin flee the vehicle, with their Ring camera showing the truck parking just four minutes before they arrived on the scene. McMullin has a previous conviction for domestic assault in 2018.

McMullin withdrew his previous writ not guilty pleas to plead no contest to the two new charges. He waived his presentence investigation for the charges to receive his sentencing all at once.

Deputy Dodge County Attorney Tom Gross said as part of McMullin’s plea deal, the state was asking for a prison sentence for him.

Hall sentenced McMullin to three to five years in prison for assault and three years for failing to stop on the first case to run concurrently. He must serve at least one-and-a-half years on both cases.

For the second case, Hall sentenced McMullin to three to five years in prison for the firearm charge and two years for theft to run concurrently. Although McMullin could potentially serve one year for the theft charge, Hall said he must serve the entire sentence for the firearm charge due to its status as a class 1D felony.

As well as having the two cases run concurrently, Hall also ordered McMillin’s sentence to run concurrently with two misdemeanors in his county court case, which are expected to result in six-month prison sentences each. He was given credit for 104 days previously served for all of the charges.

In other district court news on Monday:

  • Jacob E. Edmondson was sentenced to two years in prison for driving under the influence and attempted DUI causing serious bodily injury. On Aug. 22, 2020, FPD officers responded to the scene of a car crash involving a driver and passenger. A witness stated they saw a vehicle driving at a high rate of speed before losing control and crashing into a parked car, which then was pushed into two parked cars in a nearby driveway. Another witness stated that Edmondson, the driver, told them that he had been drinking, while officers observed two coolers of alcohol in the back of the vehicle. Edmondson was transported to Methodist Fremont Health before being flown by medical helicopter to the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, while the passenger was flown directly to UNMC due to the severity of their injuries. A blood draw from Edmondson resulted in a blood alcohol level of .138 grams per 100 mL. Edmondson initially pleaded not guilty, but withdrew it to plead no contest to the two charges. Gross said the state was asking for a prison term due to the high-risk actions by Edmondson, as well as him continuing to drink alcohol. Edmondson’s attorney asked for probation, as he said his client had realized his actions and wanted to take the steps toward being there for his family. Edmondson said he knew he had made a mistake and didn’t believe prison would benefit him. However, Hall said Edmondson had shown little respect for the law and court and hadn’t taken significant steps to turn his life around, as he had continued to make excuses and evade responsibility. Hall sentenced Edmondson to two years in prison for the DUI and 60 days for the attempted DUI to run concurrently. He also sentenced Edmondson to 12 months of post-release supervision and revoked his driver’s license for one year. Hall also ordered Edmondson to take part in two 12-step programs per week, relapse prevention and alcohol monitoring, as well as obtain his GED. Additionally, Edmondson was granted 24 hours before reporting for his sentence.
  • Nicholas J. Fitch, 36, of Fremont was sentenced to two years in prison for possession of a controlled substance. On April 26, a Dodge County Sheriff’s Office deputy pulled a non-plated vehicle over. Upon making contact with the vehicle, the deputy noticed a strong smell of marijuana and asked the four people inside to step outside the vehicle. Fitch, a passenger, was found to have a baggie of psilocybin mushrooms after consenting to a search. Gross said the state was recommending a sentence of 18 months in prison, as he said Fitch had minimized his issues, blamed others and was at a high risk to reoffend. Fitch’s attorney said her client did not desire a probation term, but asked for a lower sentence of six to nine months as he cooperated with law enforcement. Hall said Fitch was not a candidate for probation as he did not want treatment and had a lack of respect for those around him. As part of his sentence, Fitch was given credit for 147 days previously served.
  • Robert M. Blessing, 25, of Fremont was sentenced to 30 months of intensive supervised probation for burglary. On Aug. 26, 2020, FPD began investigating a break-in at a restaurant the night before. The kitchen, which showed signs of forced entry at the back door, reported missing a handgun and several kitchen items. Blessing was identified from fingerprints taken from the scene and made contact with. Although he initially denied his involvement, Blessing confessed and turned over several of the stolen items. He pleaded no contest to the charge on July 26. Gross said the state was not opposed to a term of 18 months of probation. Blessing’s attorney said his client was getting his life back together and was making plans to go into counseling. Blessing said he was remorseful for his actions and wanted to get better. As part of Blessing’s sentence, Hall also ordered him to take part in 60 hours of community service, relapse prevention and a victim empathy panel. He also ordered Blessing to write a letter of apology.
  • Michael A. Wright, 41, of Fremont pleaded guilty to tampering with physical evidence. On April 16, FPD officers were called to a residence in regard to Wright, who had an active warrant for his arrest. As Wright was being placed under arrest, he reached into his pocket and threw a blue object into the yard. Although he told officers the item he threw was a lighter, officers searched the yard and found the item, which was discovered to be a methamphetamine pipe. As part of Wright’s plea deal, his attorney said his client had a bed available at CenterPointe Campus for Hope in Omaha later this month. Hall found Wright guilty, ordered a presentence investigation and ordered him to stay at CenterPointe. He set Wright’s sentencing for Nov. 8.
  • Cheri L. Perez, 42, of Omaha pleaded no contest to possession of a controlled substance. On May 23, a DCSO deputy was notified of a disturbance at a hotel north of Fremont. The deputy was asked by staff to remove Perez from the scene, as she was threatening employees and smoking in her room. After being let into Perez’s room, the deputy noticed her acting erratically. Perez admitted to using meth and a deputy found a small bag of the substance in her belongings. As part of her plea deal, Perez’s attorney said she would work out a furlough for her client to go into treatment. Hall found Perez guilty, ordered a PSI and set her sentencing for Nov. 1.
  • Julia E. Rodriguez, 22, of Fremont pleaded guilty to possession of a controlled substance. On April 26, an FPD officer responded to a possible child abuse report. While speaking with Rodriguez, the officer smelled marijuana coming from her vehicle. Rodriguez told the officer she had a vape pen containing tetrahydrocannabinol. As part of her plea deal, Rodriguez’s attorney said her client would apply to the Dodge County Adult Drug Court. Hall found Rodriguez guilty, ordered a PSI and set her sentencing for Nov. 1.
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