Nathaneil Mahlin

NATHANIEL MAHLIN appeared in Madison County District Court for a sentencing hearing on Thursday. He was represented by his attorney, Brad Ewalt.

MADISON — A 21-year-old man who was convicted of seven crimes in Madison County and still faces multiple other charges was sentenced to prison on Thursday in district court.

Nathaniel Mahlin of Madison appeared before Judge James Kube on Thursday for sentencing on four felony and three misdemeanor convictions. Kube sentenced Mahlin to 7 years in prison for crimes dating back to April 2020.

In mid-April 2020, Mahlin was arrested by Norfolk police after it was learned that a check he had used to purchase a vehicle from a local dealership turned up an empty bank account. Mahlin had written a check for more than $27,000 on April 2, 2020.

A bank had called to notify the dealership that the account Mahlin had written the check under was closed and that the check couldn’t be cashed. An employee at the dealership stated she had reached Mahlin over the phone, but he had not been forthcoming to the dealership about returning to pay for the vehicle. Mahlin was advised that he needed to bring a valid check into the dealership or return the vehicle.

But Mahlin stopped answering the dealership’s phone calls, and a stolen vehicle report was filed.

A sheriff’s deputy had located the stolen vehicle at Mahlin’s residence in Madison less than a week later, but Mahlin was not home at the time.

Mahlin had been wanted for felony theft, so on April 14, 2020, officers who noticed Mahlin’s vehicle attempted to conduct a traffic stop on Mahlin, who was driving his own vehicle that hadn’t been stolen.

During an inventory of the vehicle, law enforcement located methamphetamine, an automatic pistol and a knife. Mahlin was arrested in relation to the car theft, plus drug and weapons charges. He later posted bond and was released.

Matthew Kiernan, deputy Madison County attorney, said the stolen vehicle that had been found at Mahlin’s residence had more than $13,000 in damage.

Less than three weeks later, on May 2, 2020, Mahlin was arrested again after he fled police during an attempted traffic stop. Initially, the car Mahlin was driving had moved slowly for about six blocks before running a stop sign near downtown Norfolk.

Mahlin then sped up about 25 mph over the limit and proceeded to run multiple stop signs in an attempt to evade police, according to a probable cause affidavit.

The vehicle then left the roadway near 12th Street and Nebraska Avenue, damaging landscaping at a nearby residence. The vehicle then aggressively backed up, narrowly missing a patrol car.

Mahlin then jumped out of his vehicle and ran from officers. After a short time, he was located by officers hiding underneath a vehicle nearby. Charges of felony flight to avoid arrest and obstructing a peace officer were filed shortly thereafter.

The third case Mahlin was sentenced for on Thursday was a felony failure to appear. He had been scheduled to be in court on Aug. 30 but didn’t show up.

On that day, the district court office received a call from an individual posing as Mahlin’s cousin. The “cousin” told a court employee that Mahlin wouldn’t be able to attend court because he had been admitted to a Lincoln hospital for mental health issues. The hospital told the county attorney’s office that it had not admitted Mahlin.

The 21-year-old was arrested in early September and had remained in jail since then.

Mahlin appeared alongside his attorney, Brad Ewalt. He was facing a maximum of 11 years in prison entering Thursday after a plea agreement was made on Sept. 29.

Kiernan told the judge that, for Mahlin’s young age, his criminal history is far too extensive.

“This court is very familiar with Mahlin’s cases. We’ve had enough hearings on them at this point,” he said. “We’re here to sentence him on four felonies and three misdemeanors, and he still has a pair of other cases.”

Among the litany of charges, Kiernan called the failure to appear in August “the freshest in mind.”

Because of Mahlin’s repeated bond violations and failure to appear in court, Kiernan asked Kube to make each of Mahlin’s sentences consecutive to one another.

Ewalt admitted that Mahlin “has got some problems and needs to turn some things around.”

“He has a lot going on, as the court can see — substance abuse, mental health and various traumatic events in his past that led him down the road he’s on at this point,” Ewalt said. “We’re not here to make excuses for this stuff or ask for probation.”

Instead, Ewalt asked the judge to hand Mahlin a shorter prison sentence so that Mahlin could rejoin society as a productive member of society in a lesser amount of time.

“There’s no real excuse for (Mahlin’s crimes). He knows he messed up,” he said. “He knows he shouldn’t be running from police officers and driving erratically. He needs help, your honor.”

Mahlin declined to speak before being sentenced.

Kube determined Mahlin wouldn’t be a suitable candidate for probation, citing Mahlin’s prior criminal history.

“You’ve got four pages worth of criminal history — almost half of which when you were a juvenile,” the judge said. “As soon as you became qualified to be an adult, it just kept going.”

Mahlin’s seven-year sentence includes 2 years for flight to avoid arrest and obstructing a peace officer; 2 years for possession of methamphetamine; and 1 year each for theft by deception, criminal mischief and failure to appear. He was given credit for 447 days served and must serve 3½ years less time already served before his mandatory release.

Mahlin also was ordered by Kube to an 18-month term of postrelease supervision.

“The public is in need of protection from you,” the judge said.

Mahlin also has pending Madison County charges of first-degree sexual assault and intentional child abuse. He faces up to 53 years in prison in those cases and is represented by Pat Carney.

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