A 39-year-old Atkinson man was found guilty of several assault related felony charges last Wednesday, Sept. 11 by a Holt County District Court jury in a one-day trial prosecuted by County Attorney Brent Kelly.
Preston D. Janzing was found guilty of aiding and abetting kidnapping, a Class 2 felony; strangulation, a Class 3A felony; and first-degree false imprisonment, a Class 3A felony.
He was found not guilty on a second strangulation charge and the count was dismissed.
“This was a difficult case for all of the concerned parties. I am very thankful to the victim and his family for their courage, support and cooperation. I’m also very thankful to the members of the jury for their service and to Sgt. Mark Liewer of the Holt County Sheriff’s Department for his role in the investigation and as the case officer,” Kelly said. “Kidnapping cases are obviously a very serious matter, and thankfully, are extremely rare in the State of Nebraska. I am very pleased with the result in this case. Mr. Janzing will be facing a maximum potential sentence of over 50 years in prison for his role in this crime. On behalf of the people of the State of Nebraska, I will be seeking prison time, and I will formulate my specific recommendation after reviewing the pre-sentence investigation.”
The jury trial began around 9 a.m. and closing arguments ended around 5:30 p.m. At 7:59 p.m. the jury returned and reported it had a reached a unanimous verdict.
District Judge Mark Kozisek set the defendant’s sentencing for Nov. 25 and the defendant’s bond was continued.
Janzing, a felon, was previously convicted of first-degree sexual assault of a minor in 2001 and is currently listed on the Nebraska Sex Offender Registry as a 25-year offender.
The defendant and Sally Weber, 35, also of Atkinson were originally arrested for the incident on July 7, 2018, involving a then 17-year-old minor.
Weber faces two counts of aiding and abetting, one a Class 2 felony and the second a Class 3A felony; terroristic threats, a Class 3 felony and disturbing the peace, a Class 3 misdemeanor.
She is scheduled to appear for a separate jury trial on Oct. 29 in district court.
According to court documents, the Holt County Sheriff’s Office was contacted by the minor victim’s guardians in the early hours of the morning on July 7, 2018. Deputy Sgt. Liewer later met with the victim.
According to the arrest warrant, the victim stated Weber had started messaging the victim through social media shortly after midnight pretending to be her minor daughter. The victim believed he was corresponding with Weber’s daughter and agreed to let the daughter pick him up.
According to court documents, once the vehicle arrived at the residence in Stuart, the victim opened the passenger door and realized Weber’s daughter was not in the vehicle. The vehicle was occupied by Janzing and Weber. After driving away with the victim, the couple later returned him to his residence and then confronted the victim’s guardians.
The couple was arrested on July 9, 2018, and taken to Holt County Jail. They were later released on 10 percent of a $75,000 bond each.