23-year-old Matthew C. Smith was given a nine-month sentence for striking two Weeping Water men with a handgun at Smith’s residence on Oakhill Road west of Plattsmouth last November.
Prosecutor Matthew Lierman gave this account of what happened that night: Nathan Bailey and Brian Dieter were invited to Smith’s by a female friend. Upon arrival, Smith approached the pair and for “no reason whatsoever” started a confrontation that included Smith putting the pistol under Bailey’s chin and then striking Bailey with it, knocking him to the ground. Dieter came to Bailey’s aid and Smith struck Dieter. As Bailey, bloodied and semi-conscious, was regaining his wits and attempting to stand up, Smith struck Bailey again, said Lierman. “Nobody provoked him.”
Originally charged with four felonies, Smith pled guilty to three misdemeanors in a plea agreement that also included $7,500 restitution to Bailey. It was the victims’ choice that no felonies be part of the agreement, said Lierman, because they wanted this to end and for it not to ruin Smith’s life.
Defense attorney Deb Cunningham said Smith has been honest since the start and admits striking the two men. However, all parties involved had been drinking and there was “confusion.” Smith didn’t know the female had invited anyone over and “perceived a problem” as the men approached the rural residence. He then took the unloaded gun out of his waistband, said Cunningham.
In making a request for leniency Cunningham spoke of Smith’s intention to join the Army before this incident and referred to many letters of character reference from adults. “He’s a really good young man—that’s getting lost in this somewhere.”
Smith told Cass County District Court Judge Randall Rehmeier he is “very sorry” and stated his intention to join the Army.
Smith had faced up to one year on each misdemeanor conviction.
The restitution had a “bearing on the sentence,” said Rehmeier. The judge also remarked about the "rather significant reduction" in the severity of the convictions compared to the original charges.