District Court News

  • 2022-06-27, 09:29 AM
  • Leanna Lehman
District Court News
The Tenth Judicial District Court convened on Tuesday, June 21, with Judge Thomas Stockard presiding.

Nicholas Aaron Teeters appeared with his retained attorney, Steve Evenson, Esq. Teeters was provisionally enrolled in the Western Regional DUI Diversion Program in May. Per the recommendation of counsel and the District Attorney, Judge Stockard formally placed Teeters in the DUI Diversion program. If he completes the program, the court may then reduce the charges to non-felony DUI second offenses that do not carry mandated prison terms. By participating in the program, Teeters is avoiding two sentences of 1-6 years in prison for two counts of Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or Other Intoxicating Substance, a third or subsequent offense, a Category B Felony. Evenson told the Court that his client has done a complete 180 degree since entering the program and has been doing great.

Earl Thomas Smith appeared for sentencing on a charge of Failure to Stop on the Signal of a Peace Officer, a Category B Felony punishable by 1-6 years in prison. Smith received probation on a suspended 18-48 months in the Nevada Department of Corrections. According to the plea agreement, the Court will reduce the charge to a gross misdemeanor upon Smith completing his probation.

Joel M. Hammeke Jr., in custody, appeared for a probation violation along with his appointed attorney, Churchill County Public Defender Wright Noel. Noel asked for the matter to be continued as he was just assigned to the case. Jesse Kalter previously represented Hammeke, Esq., who withdrew as counsel after sentencing on April 27, wherein Hammeke received probation on a suspended sentence of 45-120 months in prison for Assault with a Deadly Weapon with Substantial Bodily Harm. According to the criminal complaint, on August 29, 2020, at 1197 Sky Ridge Road, Hammeke willfully used force or violence upon another person causing substantial bodily harm when he shot James Nigg in the chest. At sentencing, Judge Stockard also ordered Hammeke to pay restitution to James Nigg of $73,849.97 (at a rate of $2,200 per month. Judge Stockard continued to matter until July 19.

Matthew Allen Acree, in custody, appeared for an arraignment with a court-appointed attorney, Moria E. Desmarais, Esq. Acree was arraigned on a charge of Sexually Motivated Coercion with the Use of Physical Force or the Immediate Threat of Physical, Category B Felony, punishable by 1-6 years in prison and a potential fine of up to $5,000. If convicted, Acree would be required to register as a sex offender and would be subject to lifetime supervision. Acree pled not guilty to the charge and waived his right to a trial within 60 days. Judge Stockard referred the matter to be heard by another senior judge in a criminal settlement conference on August 19. If no resolution is reached, the case will return to District Court and the matter will be set for a jury trial.

Marissa Marie Tybo, in custody, pled guilty to a charge of Possession of a Controlled Substance, a First or Second Offense, a Category E Felony punishable by 1-4 years in prison. According to Tybo’s attorney, John J. Kadlic Esq., his client faced two other charges in Justice Court, including a DUI and another Possession of a Controlled Substance. However, a plea agreement was reached, which called for Tybo to plead guilty to the DUI in Justice Court and one Possession charge in Justice Court, with the state agreeing to drop the second possession charge. According to Tybo’s defense counsel, she was pulled over for driving erratically, allowing for probable cause to test her for drugs or alcohol and search her and her vehicle. Officers found methamphetamine on her person, and a drug test revealed the drug was also in her system. Judge Stockard placed Tybo on probation and ordered her participation in the Western Nevada Regional Drug Court program.

Benjamin Franklin Pascoe, in custody, pled guilty to Offer, Attempt, or Commission of an Unauthorized Act Relating to the Manufacturing or Compounding of Certain Controlled Substances, a first offense Category C Felony punishable by 1-5 years in prison. According to his attorney, CCPD Wright Noel, Pasco participated in a controlled buy of methamphetamine with a cooperating source. Noel asked Judge Stockard to consider placing Pasco on probation and allowing him to receive a long-term substance abuse program. Noel stated that the Salvation Army program currently has a bed available for Pascoe, and he could begin the program immediately. Judge Stockard granted Pascoe probation on a suspended sentence of 24-60 months, subject to Pascoe’s participation in the Salvation Army treatment program.

Wesley Evan Woods, in custody, pled guilty to a charge of Residential Burglary, a Category B Felony punishable by 1-10 years in prison. According to CCPD Jacob Sommer, his client entered a property on or about December 16, 2020, intending to commit petit larceny. Sentencing was set for July 12. Woods is also awaiting sentencing on charges of Uttering a Forged Instrument in Washoe County.

Denny Tony Benka appeared for sentencing on a charge of Arson in the Second Degree, a Category B Felony punishable by 2-15 years in prison. Chief Deputy District Attorney Lane Mills told the Court that the defendant has a significant criminal history, including 12 felonies, seven prison terms, and multiple felonies. “He burned down his only trailer,” Mills stated, citing the danger that posed to anything and anyone nearby as well to those responding to the fire. Mills asked for prison for Benka. CCPD Jacob Sommer told the court that Benka has had many chances at reform and that neither he nor his client felt that the state’s request for prison was not unreasonable. Despite how it looks on paper, Benka has a desire to improve his life and make changes. According to Sommer, Benka has been sober for a period and has independently made arrangements to attend the Salvation Army long-term treatment program if the Court would allow him the opportunity of probation. Benka addressed the court, stating that he spent his life in and out of prison and nearly killed himself by lighting a fire and just sitting in it. He has also never asked for help. He believes that the program could make him a better person, “I will show the court, I can do it, that I am seeking help and I am seeking to get this devil off of me.” Judge Stockard told Benka, “I have considered probation, but based on the facts of the case and your criminal history, I don’t feel it is appropriate in this case.” Benka received a sentence of 19-65 months in prison and was given credit for 141 days for time served. Stockard encouraged Benka to take advantage of any prison programs and consider the Salvation Army program for additional treatment upon release.


Leanna Lehman



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