Career Criminal Get Long Prison Term

Man with 13 felonies on his criminal record is sentenced to 10 years in the Nebraska Department of Corrections because of his 14th.

The Cassgram reports 43-year-old James D. Johnson pled no contest to a Class IV Felony with the habitual criminal enhancement. He also pled no contest to a reduced DUI count. Four other felony charges pending from a separate case were dismissed as part of the plea agreement. The agreement included the 10 year sentencing recommendation by both the prosecution and defense. Since the habitual criminal notation was part of the conviction, the sentence is 10 years with no parole eligibility. The case went to immediate sentencing after the plea entry on Monday.

Johnson has been incarcerated in the Cass County Jail since his arrest on January 28th of this year and Cass County District Court Judge Jeffrey Funke said he knows Johnson probably sees “things a lot clearer” now that he has been clean and sober for over six months. Funke said Johnson has an “atrocious record” but he hopes that Johnson keeps that feeling he has now and uses the programs in the correctional system to make him a productive member of society in 10 years.

Funke said if he doesn’t deal with his substance abuse problem, Johnson is going to kill somebody. The judge said it’s lucky no one died that night in January this year.

An off-duty state patrolman observed a car speeding and driving erratically about 1:30am that night. The off-duty trooper notified an on-duty colleague after the car stopped at a gas station.

Upon returning to Interstate 80, the on-duty trooper documented speeds of over 100 miles per hour, shoulder-to-shoulder swerving and near collisions, said Deputy Cass County Attorney Richard Fedde. A pursuit began that went into Ashland where speeds continued at 90 mph through town. Stop sticks were successfully deployed but the car continued on with flat tires and law enforcement finally used their vehicles to bring it to a stop, said Fedde.

The suspect, later identified as Johnson, ran from the scene and was apprehended after officers used a taser gun.

Johnson was taken to the hospital for treatment of injuries and his blood alcohol content tested at .158, said Fedde.

The driving under the influence charge had originally been a second offense – super (BAC over .15) but the plea agreement amended that to a first offense DUI.


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