The defense attorney for a suspected cattle thief claims his client was "blinded by love."
Court-appointed attorney Pat Carney said Benjamin Johnson, 27, of St. Edward was romantically involved with Rebecca Robbins, a co-defendant in the case, and "let his feelings override logic."
"I think he was taken advantage of, although somewhat willingly," Carney said in Antelope County District Court on Wednesday.
Due to this and his "minimal" criminal history, he requested probation for his client.
Johnson, who previously pleaded no contest to criminal attempt-theft by unlawful taking (class IV felony), apologized to the victims of the cattle theft, calling it "a horrible mistake."
District Judge Mark Johnson sentenced him to probation for 60 months and ordered him to pay $8,209.50 in restitution to the victims and $145 in court costs.
"You are quickly developing a reputation as a thief and if you don't want to be known as a thief, you need to change your ways," the judge said.
Robbins was sentenced to prison for her involvement in December, and she will serve an indeterminate term of at least 40 months.
According to a probable cause affidavit, 35 cows and 40 calves were taken from Wilber Rakow's property 7 1/2 miles east of Highway 14 and 854 Road (Pierce/Neligh Road) on June 25 and later located in Platte County. Once the cattle were located, immediate arrangements were made to return the cattle to Rakow.
Robbins, Johnson and Dummitt allegedly attempted to load the cattle on May 19. When that attempt failed, the cattle were then loaded onto trucks on June 25.
Antelope County Sheriff Bob Moore said Lawrence and Linda Klink of Columbus paid $16,000 in cash and check installments to Robbins over several weeks and intended to purchase 80 cattle.
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