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Thomas L. Braesch

Thomas L. Braesch 

A 65-year-old man, who was arrested for growing marijuana in his home in February, was sentenced to a 30-month term of probation on Monday.

The state was pursuing a probation sentence for the man, Thomas Braesch, citing his apparent willingness to rehabilitate himself, which was identified in a pre-sentencing investigation.

“There is indication that the defendant takes responsibility and wants probation and wants to be sober,” said Sara Sopinski, chief deputy for the Dodge County Attorney’s Office, in court. “I’m in agreement with the terms that are recommended in the (pre-sentencing investigation) for a lengthy term of supervised probation.”

Braesch’s attorney, Adam Tripp, told District Court Judge Geoffrey Hall that, since posting bail, Braesch has been “very active as far as furthering his treatment,” explaining that Braesch had acquired a sponsor and was regularly attending rehabilitation meetings and outpatient treatment.

“From the very beginning, he’s taken responsibility for his actions, even the night of the incident,” Tripp said.

Braesch spent 46 days in jail prior to posting bail.

As part of his probation, Braesch must complete 120 hours of community service, attend a minimum of two, 12-step programs per week and maintain having a sponsor, attend and complete moral reconation therapy.

“It appears that you are a good candidate (for probation),” Hall told Braesch during sentencing. “I hope you take it seriously and follow through.”

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Thomas Braesch and his wife Cynthia, 62, of Fremont were arrested on Feb. 15, after officers responded to a call regarding a domestic dispute at their residence. Upon arrival, they observed a bag in plain view containing what appeared to be marijuana. A subsequent investigation found other bags of marijuana and later revealed that the couple were growing the drug in their basement.

Braesch pleaded guilty to manufacturing marijuana in April and his wife pleaded no contest in May. The charges amount to a Class IIA felony that carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

In other district court news on Monday:

  • Crystal Lewis, 34, withdrew a previously entered written not-guilty plea and pleaded no contest to possession of methamphetamine. The Bellevue woman was arrested in January along with five other individuals in connection to a methamphetamine transaction. Lewis’ boyfriend, Rodrigo De La Cruz, 32, was sentenced to three to five years in prison in May, in connection to the same January incident.
  • Dylan Valdez, 19, pleaded no contest to making terroristic threats, stemming from an incident in November when Valdez pointed “what appeared to be a black handgun” at a victim and grabbed money from his hand. He was subsequently sentenced to one year in prison, served concurrently with another sentence in Saunders County Court, as part of a plea agreement. Valdez received credit for 201 days served.
  • Jeremy Rush, 41, was sentenced to two years in prison on possession of meth charges.
  • Casey Stewart, 32, pleaded guilty to two D.U.I. charges in addition to another charge of obstructing a peace officer as part of a plea agreement that stipulates that sentences on all charges, including an additional charge in county court, be served concurrently.
  • Jason McGovern, 34, was sentenced to a year in prison after pleading guilty to possessing marijuana and delivering marijuana in May. McGovern’s attorney, Randall Paragas, was seeking the prison sentence over the probation office’s recommendation of probation because, with the time that McGovern had already served in jail, his sentence would be complete.
  • Brittney A. Schlund, 27, pleaded guilty to possessing Lorazepam as part of a plea agreement and will apply to drug court.
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