By Jason Schock
The Falls City Journal has learned that a 29-year-old man accused of assaulting his girlfriend last summer in their Shubert home over a period of several days, and threatening to kill her, has reached a plea agreement with the County Attorney’s Office and will avoid a felony conviction.
Luke Vice is set to appear before District Court Judge Daniel E. Bryan today (Tuesday) and plead guilty to a pair of yet unspecified misdemeanors, stemming from his July 2014 arrest by Richardson County Sheriff Randy Houser, who responded to a report of domestic abuse made by Vice’s girlfriend, Bailey Jones, 21. According to the arrest affidavit filed by Houser, Jones said Vice had strangled and threatened her with a knife and a handgun. Houser said noticeable physical evidence substantiated her claim, citing bruising around the woman’s neck, head and body.
Vice pled not guilty in September to a trio of felony charges, one of which – use of a firearm to commit a felony – carries with it a mandatory-minimum sentence of five years in prison.
He was scheduled to face jury trial on that charge, as well as terroristic threats and strangulation, both Class IV Felonies, last month. Prosecutors, though, would have had to try and secure a guilty verdict based largely on the testimony of a hostile witness. Jones has since recanted her initial accusations, telling authorities she fabricated the story of abuse.
Vice last summer posted $7,500 bail and was released from Richardson County Jail, on the judge’s stipulation he have no contact with Jones. That condition was not met, Vice was returned to jail, where he remains, and the Nebraska Dept. of Health and Human Services has taken custody of the couple’s two young children.
A Class I Misdemeanor in Nebraska is punishable of up to one year in jail, a $1,000 fine, or both.