An Omaha man was accused of being an incredibly needy stalker — to the point of putting a GPS device on his former fiancée’s truck.
However, the Nebraska Supreme Court threw out the misdemeanor stalking case Friday after determining that authorities needed to stalk him sooner.
The high court dismissed prosecutors’ case against the 44-year-old Omaha man — finding that Omaha police had filed a warrant for his arrest, then had waited nine months before they attempted to serve that warrant.
Under state law, prosecutors must try a defendant within six months. Some actions delay that speedy-trial clock, such as defense motions or when a defendant absconds.
In this case, prosecutors alleged that the 44-year-old man had fled from Omaha. But the state’s high court said there was no evidence that the man had ever received notice that a warrant had been issued on him. Supreme Court justices found no evidence that authorities had tried to serve the warrant until nine months later.
To extend the time prosecutors have to take someone to trial “with the mere issuance of a warrant would allow the state ... to switch off the speedy-trial clock by applying for a warrant,” the high court wrote.
The ruling absolves a man who has a checkered criminal record, including a prison stint for child abuse.
In this case, his ex-fiancée alleged he started stalking her after she became concerned about his erratic behavior and broke off their engagement in May 2018. Following the breakup, she was at her sister’s house when he texted her “I couldn’t resist ... please don’t be mad. (You’re on)..K circle right?”
The then-35-year-old woman responded: “Do not.” To which the man responded: “I’m not there yet. Why not.”
The woman said she would find notes on her truck and received texts that indicated her former fiancé was following her. The woman called on a friend who had an electronic device that could locate GPS devices. The friend searched her truck — and found one.
After she confronted him, the Omaha man responded: “I swear on my life. I did not put that in your truck.” He later sent her a collage of pictures of the couple and their wedding invitations, complete with an address where he wanted them to spend the rest of their lives.
Later, he sent the woman a letter he apparently had written to himself, castigating himself as “the Doug that helped destroy what could have been the greatest love of ALL.”
“You stupid STUPID MAN,” he wrote. “She ain’t taken your (crap) anymore. “If she gives you a second chance, YOU BETTER NOT BLOW IT.”
The woman didn’t give him a second chance. But the Supreme Court did. The high court said Omaha police blew the case by not making “any efforts to serve the warrant ... before May 29, 2019.” The case had been filed on Aug 17, 2018.
“As such (the Omaha man) was entitled to absolute discharge because he was not tried within six months of the complaint being filed,” the high court concluded.