Three men pleaded not guilty to 11 charges in Antelope County District Court on Wednesday morning.
Dennis Statler, 45, pleaded not guilty to two charges: theft by unlawful taking (more than $1,500), a class 3 felony; and theft by unlawful taking (more than $500), a class 4 felony. He is being represented by Martin Klein. Statler's charges stem from April incidents in which he allegedly stole a John Deere Gator from Jim and Pat Blackburn’s home and got it stuck in a swamp before taking a Pontiac Aurora owned by Jeremy Borer. He reportedly drove the car to Royal and abandoned it in the middle of the Royal blacktop.
Matthew Wood, 30, pleaded not guilty to two charges: terroristic threats, a class 4 felony; and use of a deadly weapon to commit a felony, a class 1C felony. He is being represented by Brad Montag. Wood's charges stem from an April incident north of Orchard in which a 911 call was received due to two brothers fighting. Wood allegedly threatened his brother with a gun.
Jeremy Jones, 25, pleaded not guilty to seven charges: assault on a peace office, a class 3A felony; four counts of terroristic threats, class 4 felonies; resisting arrest, a class I misdemeanor; and obstructing a peace officer, a class 3A felony. He is being represented by Martin Klein of the Antelope County Public Defender's Office. Jones asked for new legal counsel due to the "ineffective counsel" of Public Defender Pat Carney, claiming a conflict of interest. Antelope County Attorney Joe Abler objected, stating he didn't believe there was a conflict of interest and that Jones may hire his own lawyer if he'd like, but the appointed attorney is "very experienced." Judge Mark Johnson agreed with Abler and denied the request. Klein then requested his client's bond be reduced from $75,000 to $25,000. Abler stated that county court Judge Donna Taylor already reduced his bond from $150,000 and said Jones "has quite a criminal history." Abler said Jones was at a family wedding when "he made threats to go get a gun and come back and blow everyone away." "Then he assaulted a sheriff's deputy and had to be tasered," the county attorney said. The judge denied the request to lower his bond, which is 10 percent of $75,000. Jones remains incarcerated in the Antelope County Jail.