Farmer Would Withdraw Plea Over Water Well Assault

NEBRASKA CITY – District Judge Julie Smith has scheduled a January hearing to decide if she will allow Palmyra farmer Glenn Royal to withdraw his no contest plea regarding an April 30 assault.

The 76-year-old farmer is accused of going onto a neighboring property and pointing a rifle at the landowner. Court records indicate that Royal was upset because well drillers were preparing to drill a domestic water well for a house that the landowner was planning to build.

The landowner, Cody Beecham, told investigators that Royal lowered the rifle when he was ordered off of the property.

In a plea agreement, the state dropped a felony charge of terroristic threats in exchange for a plea for  misdemeanor assault.

Prior to sentencing Wednesday, Royal’s attorney moved for a continuance, saying Royal wants to withdraw his plea.

The judge noted a paragraph in a pre-sentence report where state probation wrote that Royal was asked about sentencing and replied that he hoped to be found not guilty.

Smith: “This is written by the probation officer. When asked about the current offense, Mr. Royal stated that he hopes at court he will be fined and found not guilty. At this time, it does not appear that Mr. Royal fully understands the court process and where he is at in this process. When asked about his thoughts regarding sentencing, Mr. Royal reported that he would like not to be guilty.”

The judge told Royal she would schedule a hearing to consider his intention to withdraw his plea. She told Royal that the no contact order with Beecham remains in effect.

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