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Guhl Sentenced to Minimum of Five Years For Igloo Break-Ins Judge Says Long Criminal History, Seriousness of Crimes Necessitates Imprisonment

Judge Says Long Criminal History, Seriousness of Crimes Necessitates Imprisonment

SIDNEY-- Sentencing was handed down in the case of thefts at the igloos in northern Cheyenne County last Spring. John Guhl, 39, of Sidney was sentenced after being convicted of charges of Theft by Receiving or Obtaining Stolen Property, a Class IIA Felony, and three counts of Burglary, Class IIA Felonies.

Guhl was sentenced to the Nebraska Department of Corrections on Count 1 for not less than five years and not more than 10 years, on Count 2 for a term of not less than five years and not more than 10 years, on Court 3 for a term of not less than five years and not more than 10 years and on Count 4 for a term of not less than five years and not more than 10 years. After conferring with prosecution and defense attorneys, it was determined that Guhl had spent 316 days incarcerated before sentencing and was credited for the days previously incarcerated. The sentences are to run concurrently.

Before sentencing, Cheyenne County Attorney Paul Schaub said, "The offenses Guhl has been convicted of are serious Class IIA felonies. Guhl has an extensive criminal history, with crimes against persons and property. He has been on probation five times, five times in the past, and five times probation was revoked."

He noted the LS/CMI score (Level of Service/Case Management Inventory) places him at a high risk to re-offend, and that the victims of his crimes have petitioned the county attorney's office to make sure he is punished.

Defense attorney Stacy Bach, appearing via Zoom, said that Guhl kept in contact with court officers regularly, had a good record while incarcerated, and was selected to be a trustee while in prison, working in the kitchen. She also said that he was not the main perpetrator in the case, but was influenced by others involved who then "threw him under the bus" in exchange for light sentences. She noted that Guhl did not skip on bond when it was granted, and although he has a prior criminal history, Guhl deserved a chance at probation in this case. She noted he had been sober for 316 days and was willing to submit to GPS and Drug and Alcohol monitoring. Guhl addressed the court and said, "I want to be able to make things right and right my wrongs. Please give me a second chance to make things right."

Judge Derek Weimer explained the factors to be considered before sentencing, then said, "I see a man 39 years old who has had 41 criminal cases against him since 2006. 10 are for property crimes. You have a history of taking things that do not belong to you. You have been convicted of crimes in three different states, Texas, Colorado, and Nebraska. You have been imprisoned two times in Colorado. People here have the right to be secure in their belongings, I don't care if they leave their stuff on their front lawn, it's their right to do so without worrying about their stuff getting stolen. You've demonstrated over the past 10 years that you'll just take what you want. Anything less than imprisonment diminishes the seriousness of the crimes you have committed."

After passing the sentence Guhl was placed in handcuffs and remanded to the custody of the Cheyenne County Sheriff's Department before being processed by the Nebraska State Department of Corrections. After sentencing, Cheyenne County Attorney Paul Schaub said, "I appreciate the work of the Cheyenne County Sheriff's Office and the Sidney Police Department in this matter. Their diligence in investigating crimes is very much appreciated."

In other court proceedings, Nathan Robinson appeared via Zoom and waived his right to a preliminary hearing. It had been reported earlier that one of Robinson's charges was for "shoplifting of $5000 or more". The charge has since been changed by the courts to reflect "exercising control", which is under the same statute, but denotes personal property rather than retail or business merchandise. His next scheduled court appearance will be on March 6, 2024 at 1 p.m.

Matthew Cleays also appeared via Zoom, and his attorney argued for a reduction in bond due to medical reasons. Judge Randin Roland denied the reduction of bond and scheduled arraignment for March 6.

Rocky Weaver, of Sidney, was sentenced to 30 days incarceration for Disturbing the Peace and 30 days for Driving Under Suspension. The sentences will run concurrently. His driver's license was also suspended for one year. Weaver was remanded to the Cheyenne County Sheriff's Office for processing.


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