Woman convicted of second burglary in year, faces third felony

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

McCOOK, Nebraska -- A McCook woman will face sentencing for what will be her third felony criminal case in Red Willow County District Court this year. The offender, 21-year-old Toni Hopkins of 906 East E Street, accepted a plea agreement last week that reduced a Class III felony burglary charge against her to a Class IV felony of attempted burglary.

Hopkins was subsequently scheduled for sentencing on the attempted burglary charge at 2 p.m. on Aug. 5, 2013.

The most recent charge against Hopkins stems from the January 2013 break-in at Nelseena's Leather Shop in Danbury. According to court documents, Hopkins and two accomplices, 22-year-old Joshua K. Sain and 25-year-old Joseph Shepherd, broke out a window at the leather shop and stole a laptop computer, camera, leather working knives and jewelry.

Shepherd has already been convicted of Class III felony burglary for his involvement in the leather shop burglary. He was sentenced July 3, 2013, to 36 months probation and ordered to pay joint restitution in the amount of $2,335.

Hopkins is already on probation stemming from two unrelated convictions in February. She admitted to violating her probation in both of those cases and is scheduled for sentencing on the probation violations at the same time as her most recent burglary offense.

Hopkins two previous convictions stem from the burglary of a West First Street McCook residence in May 2012 and three misdemeanor forgery offenses.

Hopkins accomplices in the West First Street burglary differed from those involved in the Nelseena's burglary. 23-year-old Johnathon M. Wickizer of Benkelman, Nebraska, and 18-year-old Rayna Snyder of McCook were also sentenced to probation for their involvement in the West First Street burglary.

The misdemeanor forgery offenses Hopkins was convicted of were reduced, as part of a plea agreement offered by Red Willow County Attorney Paul Wood, from a Class III felony forgery charge that was originally filed.

Other activity July 3, 2013, in Red Willow County District Court:

* A former McCook Community College walk-on baseball player was sentenced to 30 months probation after being convicted of Class III felony burglary, stemming from the burglary of a Centennial Drive residence in McCook. The offender, 18-year-old Joseph J. Sanchez, was arrested a day after the March 4, 2013, incident, thanks in part to the assistance of the victim and a watchful neighbor. The neighbor assisted in identifying Sanchez as the person spotted fleeing the scene and the victim tipped investigators that a vehicle matching the vehicle used in the crime was spotted at a local jewelry store, where Sanchez was arrested a short while later.

During subsequent interviews with investigators Sanchez also admitted to being the suspect sought in a West L Street incident during which he entered the back door of a residence and scared the homeowner inside. Sanchez also admitted to being the suspect sought in connection with reports of an individual going door to door in McCook, and in other Red Willow County communities, pretending to be looking for kids to participate in a baseball clinic. Sanchez said he used that and other guises when doors he knocked on were answered by residents.

* A burglar who startled a McCook couple awake and was arrested a short time later while attempting to hide in their basement, was sentenced to probation after accepting a plea agreement that admitted guilt to one Class III felony count of burglary and three Class II misdemeanor counts of theft by unlawful taking, while also agreeing the prosecution would recommend a probation sentence.

The offender, 20-year-old Joseph M. Rocha, was sentenced to 36 months Community Based Intervention probation by Red Willow County District Court Judge David Urbom. According to court officials CBI probation has stricter reporting requirements than standard probation.

The burglary charge against Rocha stems from a March 18, 2013, incident that occurred on the 200 block of West L Street in McCook. The misdemeanor charges against Rocha stem from the theft of a DVD player from a residence located on the 1000 block of West Second Street and the theft of several fishing poles and stereo speakers stolen from the garages of two other residences.

* 36-year-old Paul A. Miller of 1606 W. Eighth Street accepted a plea agreement that reduced a felony possession of methamphetamine charge to three misdemeanor offenses. Miller was subsequently scheduled for sentencing at 10:30 a.m. on Sept. 9, 2013, on a Class I misdemeanor offense of possession of a controlled substance; a Class II misdemeanor offense of criminal mischief; and a Class III misdemeanor offense of possession of a legend drug.

* 43-year-old Sheila K. Sain pleaded not guilty to charges of Class IV felony possession of a controlled substance and an infraction for possession of drug paraphernalia. Sain was subsequently scheduled for a motions hearing at 1 p.m. on Sept. 9, 2013.