Nebraska Man Convicted of Killing Friend Granted Motion Hearing

Dallas Huston

Dallas Huston

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The Nebraska Supreme Court has ordered an evidentiary hearing held for a man serving 50 years to life in prison for killing his friend in 2009 and who argues that he should be released from prison because his trial lawyer was ineffective.

Dallas Huston was convicted of second-degree murder for the death of 22-year-old Ryan Johnson. An autopsy showed Johnson died of asphyxiation.

Huston was initially charged with assisting a suicide, but police later determined Johnson had tried to free himself from plastic wrapped around his head, and that Huston then suffocated Johnson with a pillow.

On Friday, the state’s high court ruled the trial judge should not have dismissed Huston’s request for post-conviction relief — typically sought after all appeals have been exhausted — without holding a hearing.

Lincoln Man Accused of Kidnapping, Raping 8-Year-Old Girl

Cody Riddle

Cody Riddle

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A Lincoln man described by his father as troubled is accused of kidnapping a sleeping 8-year-old girl from her home and raping her.

Police arrested 20-year-old Cody Riddle early Friday. Police spokeswoman Katie Flood says investigators suspect Riddle went into an open garage late Wednesday to steal something and then went into the house and saw the girl. She told officers she woke up inside another garage with her hands bound and her mouth taped over. She says the man raped her and then freed her after telling her he’d kill her and her family if she talked.

She got home around 4 a.m. Thursday and told her parents.

Riddle’s father, Andy Riddle, told reporters that his son has mental health issues and was a state ward for much of his life.

It’s unclear whether Cody Riddle has a lawyer who could be contacted to comment on his behalf. Online court records don’t yet list the case.

Nebraska Woman Gets Probation for Keeping Endangered Apes (File Image) (File Image)

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A Nebraska woman who reported her gibbons as stolen has been sentenced to two years of probation for having the apes as pets.

Nancy Stephens of Doniphan was sentenced and fined $4,000 Thursday. Stephens had pleaded guilty in June to violating the Endangered Species Act, which prohibits the transportation, shipment or receipt of endangered species.

Stephens said she bought her two apes, Caylee and Cody, in 2011 and 2012 for $22,000 each in Florida and brought them to Nebraska.

She reported they were stolen from her home by two men in September 2013. The primates were found in Florida during a traffic stop and placed in a sanctuary.

Ralston Man Killed in Omaha Motorcycle Crash

fatal-motorcycle-crashOMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Authorities say a 29-year-old Ralston man has died after the motorcycle he was driving collided with a car in southwestern Omaha.

The accident occurred around 3:20 p.m. Thursday. Omaha police say the speeding motorcycle was headed west when it ran into the right rear corner of a car that was turning north.

Police say the motorcyclist was taken to Nebraska Medical Center, where he died. He was identified as Sean Miner.

The three people in the car weren’t injured.

Heavy Rain Fills Streams, Streets in Eastern Nebraska

rain-heavyNORFOLK, Neb. (AP) — The National Weather Services has issued flood advisories for several eastern Nebraska counties after thunderstorms dumped heavy rain.

A stream flood advisory was to expire later Friday morning in portions of Antelope, Boone and Madison counties. Up to 6 inches of rain was reported in southern Antelope County.

Law enforcement officials say water has covered the roadway on U.S. Highway 275 east of Oakdale and on Nebraska Highway 70 west of Elgin. Storm runoff also covered some streets in northwest and midtown Omaha.

Lawyer: Former Franchisee Alerted Subway About Fogle

subwayNEW YORK (AP) — A former franchisee alerted a Subway advertising executive in 2008 about her concerns about pitchman Jared Fogle, according to her lawyer.

Cindy Mills exchanged phone numbers with Fogle after they met at an event, said Robert Beasley, a lawyer who represents Mills.

After Fogle began talking about paying for sex with minors, Beasley said Mills alerted a regional Subway contact in Florida where she is based. Later, she alerted Jeff Moody, who was in charge of the Subway Franchisee Advertising Fund Trust, he said.

Subway did not respond to a request for comment Thursday.

The company has previously said it does not have a record of Mills’ complaints, which were previously reported by Business Insider. The publication initially kept Mills’ identity anonymous at her request, but identified her Thursday.

Nebraska Officials Seize Marijuana in Traffic Stop

douglas-county-sheriffOMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Authorities say a canine has helped find 70 pounds of marijuana during a traffic stop on Interstate 80 in Nebraska.

The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office says 50-year-old Raymond Ojeda, of California, was arrested following a traffic stop Wednesday night. He faces charges including possession with intent to deliver.

Authorities say a deputy became suspicious of three large duffel bags in Ojeda’s car during the traffic stop. A canine later indicated the odor of illegal drugs in the car. The drugs were discovered inside the bags.

Court records do not list an attorney for Ojeda.

Problems at New Apartments in Lincoln Remain Unresolved

for_rentLINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Lincoln officials say problems at a new apartment complex remain unresolved but aren’t serious enough to warrant action by the city.

Tenants who moved into the Prime Place apartment complex over the weekend were met with unfinished units and common areas. Some apartments had clogged bathtub drains.

Officials noted seven building code violations when the complex was inspected last week, but all of them were considered minor.

Building and Safety Manager Terry Kathe says those issues haven’t been resolved as of Wednesday, but none are considered life-threatening.

Kathe says the city has urged the developer and contractor to finish cleaning. The complex’s developer has declined to comment on specific problems.

Ralston Faced Potential Tax Hike Due to Arena’s Money Issues

taxesRALSTON, Neb. (AP) — Ralston officials could face a tough task in persuading lawmakers to help spare city taxpayers from a huge tax increase.

Ralston Mayor Don Groesser is expected to propose a 34 percent property tax increase and a new restaurant tax in the city in response to the Ralston Arena’s financial problems.

But Groesser says he’ll promise to roll back the property tax increase if lawmakers step in with more incentives for the arena.

Several legislators say changing state law to help spare taxpayers from the potential increase would be a difficult sell to the Legislature.

State Sen. Merve Riepe says he’ll do what he can to help but that the city shouldn’t “expect the Legislature to ride in on a white horse to save it.”


Woman Charged in Nebraska Toddler’s Suffocation Death

Azudany Serrano-Contreras

Azudany Serrano-Contreras

HASTINGS, Neb. (AP) — A 33-year-old Hastings woman has been accused of stuffing a baby wipe down the throat of a toddler, killing her.

Azudany Serrano-Contreras was arrested Wednesday and charged with committing intentional child abuse resulting in death. Her attorney declined to comment on Thursday.

A court document says Serrano-Contreras was baby-sitting 19-month-old Aliyana Peterson on March 12 when officers were sent to the woman’s home. Serrano-Contreras told officers the she’d wiped the girl’s face with a baby wipe, set it down on a counter and turned to get lotion. She says that when she turned back, the little girl was gasping for air. A hospital nurse later removed the baby wipe from the girl’s throat.

The pathologist who conducted the autopsy ruled the death a homicide.