On February 2, 2016 a jailor at the Sheridan County Jail was injured by three inmates in an apparent failed escape attempt. According to the Sheridan County Attorney’s Office, Sheridan County Jail inmates Franklin Milk, Dale Martin Jr., and Stephen Moore are facing charges of Attempted Escape, Obstructing Government Operations, Terroristic Threats, First Degree False Imprisonment, Third Degree Assault, and Third Degree Assault on a Peace Officer. The three inmates allegedly assaulted, choked and held Jailor Dylyn Stuck on the floor of the main dormitory of the jail in an attempt to take his keys. While they were successful in taking the jailor’s keys, the door to the main cell area was closed during the struggle and the jailor refused to give the inmates sufficient information for them to figure out which key would open the door. Dispatcher Donna Talbot heard yelling coming from the jail and in looking through the window of the booking area could see someone attempting to open the cell door from the inside. She was able to immediately page law enforcement to the jail, and when Sheridan County Sheriff’s Deputies Twarling and Puchner entered the cell area, all three inmates abandoned their efforts and the deputies were able to retrieve Jailor Stuck and lock down the inmates until additional law enforcement could arrive. Stuck was treated and released from Gordon Memorial Hospital that evening.
At the time of the incident, Franklin Milk was being held at the Sheridan County Jail on Sheridan County charges of possession of over 140 grams of methamphetamine with intent to deliver. Dale Martin Jr. was being held on a warrant out of Pennington County, South Dakota and Stephen Moore was being held for Dawes County, Nebraska for alleged offenses related to distribution of methamphetamine in that county.
It is believed the escape attempt may have been premeditated, as there is some evidence to suggest that prior to the events of February 2, at least one of the inmates allegedly made comments about the sentence for that offense being only about a year in jail.
In 2015, the Nebraska Legislature passed LB 605, which reduced the amount of time a defendant could serve in the state penitentiary for certain types of crimes. Prior to LB605, escape through the use of force or threat was a Class III Felony, subject to a sentence of between 1 and 20 years, and the attempt of that offense would have been a Class IV Felony, with a possible sentence of up to five years. Under the new law, escape through the use of force or threat is a Class IIA Felony, with a sentence of between 0 and 20 years, and an attempted escape is a Class IIIA Felony, subject to a sentence of between 0 and 3 years, with part of that time being served within the local community on “post release supervision.” Under the new sentencing guidelines for a Class IIIA Felony, a defendant receiving a maximum sentence - if they received good time while in the state system of a day for a day credit - would serve 18 months in the state penitentiary and 18 months on “post release supervision” within their local community.