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Probation revoked, 30-month sentence issued to Columbus woman

October 9, 2018

A Columbus woman was sentenced to a prison term recently in Platte County District Court for violating the terms of her probation stemming from a drug-related offense.

Danielle Johnson, 32, originally was sentenced to probation in March 2017 on a Class II drug felony and admitted in August to failing to meet the probationary terms resulting in Friday’s resentencing and subsequent incarceration.

District Court Judge Robert Steinke levied a 30-month prison sentence being completed at the Nebraska Correctional Center for Women in York. Johnson was credited with serving 98 days in Platte County Jail and under the Good Time Law of Nebraska, could be eligible for release in 15 months.

Steinke said the State filed a motion to revoke probation in July when it learned the defendant wasn’t doing her part to comply with the stipulations set forth by the court at her previous sentencing. After failing to meet with her probation officer to update her pre-sentence investigation documents, a warrant was issued leading to Johnson’s subsequent arrest.

Platte County Public Defender Tim Matas, addressing the court prior to sentencing, asked that Steinke hand down a one to two-year sentence, which would force his client to make sobriety a priority. During her time on probation, Johnson did spend time at an inpatient recovery center but left prior to completion in January, Platte County Chief Deputy Breanna Anderson said.

In addition, Anderson said the defendant gave birth in July – while on probation -- to a child who tested positive for having methamphetamine in his or her bloodstream. The child was taken from Johnson by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.

“Ms. Johnson admits that she’s made some mistakes. Ms. Johnson has (classified) it as death by 1,000 cuts,” Matas said. “There are several instances of missing drug testing and failing to show for meetings, and, of course, she did admit that her actions did constitute absconding which she’s (acknowledged).

“She also takes responsibility for relapsing and she did check herself in rehab after she relapsed. She understands that she has a substance abuse problem, and she understands that it hasn’t been sufficiently addressed at this point. So maybe probation isn’t the best choice for Ms. Johnson, and I think you can see she’s actually nodding in agreement with me.”

In other District Court news:

*Cole A. Shatto, 22, on Friday was sentenced to spend the next 18 months in the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services after previously pleading no contest and being found guilty of being in possession of Schedule 4 controlled substance, a Class IV felony.

Under the Nebraska Good Time Law, Shatto, who was credited with 44 days served in the Platte County Jail, could be eligible for release in nine months.

Shatto was arrested Jan. 27 after law enforcement was dispatched to a local residence in reference to a report of a disturbance involving a man “beating up” a woman’s vehicle, according to a warrantless arrest affidavit.

Upon arrival, the alleged victim stated that she didn’t want law enforcement to take any action for her vehicle being damaged. According to the arrest report, officers saw a brown leather jacket lying next to the vehicle. The woman confirmed that it was Shatto’s.

Picking up the jacket, court records show the officer smelled the odor of marijuana emitting from the jacket and located a baggie of marijuana – field testing less than an ounce – in its pocket, along with a small baggie containing 30 green pills later identified as Clonazepam. The baggie containing the pills was wrapped with $397.

A witness, the arrest report says, confirmed that the defendant was wearing the jacket earlier that evening. Shatto was subsequently located and arrested on charges of being in possession of a controlled substance, being in possession of marijuana less than an ounce and for being in possession of drug paraphernalia.

Sam Pimper is the news editor of The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at sam.pimper@lee.net.

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