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Two South Dakota men who were the subjects of a manhunt in August sat before the judge in District Court for their pretrial conference.
James Baker III pled guilty to all three charges and Jeremy Stevens pled guilty to one charge and no contest to two.
Baker is charged with false reporting, possession of methamphetamine and resisting arrest which he pled guilty to all.
Stevens pled guilty to possession of methamphetamine, and pled no contest to motor vehicle theft and operating a motor vehicle to avoid arrest.
In court, acting Antelope County Attorney Joe Smith recounted the events that led to the manhunt.
In both Baker’s and Stevens’ case, Smith said that a pre-sentence investigation (PSI) would be useful in the case. Judge Mark Johnson agreed and requested that a PSI be done.
According to court records, Deputy Darin Ternus was on a regular tour of duty on August 31 when he stopped at Hiway Mart in Clearwater for something to drink.
It was then that he first encountered one of the men arrested following the manhunt, Jeremy Stevens. Stevens stated he needed money wired to him, so Deputy Ternus and the cashier, Crystal Kester, directed Stevens to Norfolk. Deputy Ternus noticed Stevens' partner, James Baker, outside the gas station.
Court records state that on suspicion, Ternus ran the men's license plate, and it was then that their vehicle--a gold Dodge Stratus with South Dakota license plates--was identified as stolen. The deputy then followed the men until backup reached him.
They were pursued by deputies eastbound on Highway 275, reaching speeds over 100 mph. The pursuit passed Neligh, where officers had stopped traffic and waited at the intersection of Highway 275 and 14 for the assailants, ready to deploy stop sticks. However, records show the men swerved the car to avoid the stop sticks, almost losing control, and continued out of town.
The chase continued east of Neligh, past Oakdale. About 2.5 miles from Tilden, the men drove across the Cowboy Trail and took off on foot, headed south into a cornfield.
Both men were eventually apprehended by law enforcement and taken to the Antelope County Law Enforcement Center, where they remain in custody.
Baker and Stevens have been incarcerated at the Antelope County Jail for 112 days. They will appear in court next on February 22 at 9 a.m.