MADISON — A man who bilked two local residents out of thousands with a promise to perform roof repair work has been sent to prison and ordered to repay what he took.
Jerry Hendon, 29, told Judge Robert Ensz in Madison County district court here Friday that he didn’t intend to take the homeowners’ money and doesn’t see himself as a con artist.
“I always prided myself on doing things the right way,” he said.
But in the process of doing the work, Hendon said he got scared. He said the money was used to keep his daughter in an Omaha hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit rather than be transferred to another facility.
But Madison County deputy attorney Mike Long said he was highly suspicious of Hendon’s intent.
“It’s not just what a person says, it’s their actions and deeds,” he said. “It was clearly a scheme to defraud people. I don’t think a reasonable person would come to any other conclusion.”
“You took their money and didn’t do a lick of work,” he said.
Hendon also has an active warrant out of Kentucky where he is wanted on similar charges in the same type of scheme, Long said.
Hendon’s lawyer, Kyle Melia of the Madison County public defender’s office, said he intended to finish the contract in Kentucky as soon as he finished his work in Nebraska. In the meantime, he got arrested.
Hendon’s father has already purchased materials in the hopes that another contractor could finish the work he lined up in Kentucky, Melia said.
Hendon turned to one of the victims, Don Ballard, in court and apologized.
“I’m sorry for putting you in this position,” he said. “I wish this had never happened. You don’t deserve that. . . I hope this doesn’t stop you from trusting people in the future.”
Ensz, who is retiring from the bench this month after more than 20 years of service, said he tries to avoid being cynical, but he had his doubts about Hendon.
“People who take advantage, they get caught,” he said. “They do their time and they’re back out doing it again.”
Ensz handed down a sentence of 18-24 months in prison on each count of theft by unlawful taking or disposition. With credit for time served, Hendon must serve another 16 months before becoming eligible for parole or about 22 months before his mandatory release. He will then be extradited to face charges in Kentucky.
Hendon was also ordered to pay restitution to each victim — totaling more than $5,000 — no later than two years following his release.
Ensz also sentenced others on the following charges Friday:
Zachary H. Price, 26, Madison County jail, third-degree assault, criminal mischief, 180 days in jail with credit for 88 days, costs.
VIOLATION OF SEX OFFENDER REGISTRY
Felix Amaya, 26, Madison, 90 days in jail starting May 20, costs.
THEFT BY DECEPTION
Kelsey Blakeman, 23, Antelope County jail, 24 months of probation, $4,369.02 in restitution, 30 days in jail at the end of probation unless waived, costs.