After serving a two year prison sentence for attempted terroristic threats in 2017, Dawn is back in prison after being sentenced in Box Butte County District Court for using a deadly weapon to commit a felony, and for making terroristic threats.

The case, which dates back to December 2019, spawns from an incident involving two men threatening couples with a knife, according to the Affidavit for Custody.

On December 3, 2019, Alliance Police Department officers were dispatched to the 700 block of Laramie Avenue to investigate the incident, where they made contact with Joshua Dawn, 27, and Hector Leal Jr., 32.

According to the affidavit, officers found a silver utility knife in the front pocket of Dawn’s sweatshirt. Officers spoke with the couple, who described the incident and the clothing the subjects were wearing. One of the people who were threatened told officers a young man in a green hoodie pulled out a knife and flashed it at them. The couple advised that the older male, identified as Leal, did not threaten them during the incident.

Dawn was arrested and charged with terroristic threats, a class 3A felony, and use of a deadly weapon to commit a felony, a class 2 felony.

On May 27, Dawn appeared in court via ZOOM for sentencing. During the proceeding, Larry Miller, Deputy Box Butte County Attorney noted Dawn’s criminal history, asking for Dawn to be serve time in prison.

“Unfortunately, Mr. Dawn has a significant history, and it does appear, from the pre-sentence investigation, that he’s really ready to start making changes. Even after this incident, he’s got additional charges that he’s waiting for with regard to assault by a confined person,” said Miller.

Dawn’s attorney, Andrew Pope, argued that Dawn’s criminal history is related to addiction. He said Dawn is willing to undergo treatment, and requested that a sentence run concurrent with a sentence from a previous case.

“Mr. Dawn does have a significant history: numerous thefts, there’s violence-related offenses, and alcohol and driving,” Pope said. “All of his criminal history is related to alcohol. He’s got an alcohol issue. He’s acknowledged that. All of his criminal charges and convictions are arising out of the involvement of alcohol. He takes responsibility for what occurred in this case. He’s been in the system since age seven. His last incarceration was at the Department of Corrections.

“His post-release (supervision) was revoked, (…) and the order on that date was for a sentence of 80 days, and that was on March 18, 2020,” said Pope. “On this case, we would ask that that would be run concurrent with that sentence. He wants to do his time, put this behind him and get the treatment that he needs.”

When asked if he had anything to say before sentencing, Dawn said he did not. Judge O’Gorman said he did not believe Dawn had taken enough responsibility.

“Looking at that criminal record, you do have multiple convictions for violence-related offenses, thefts, things of that nature,” Judge O’Gorman said. “Based on my review of the PSI (pre-sentence investigation), it looks like you take little responsibility for your actions in this matter, which is yet another crime of violence, and this time involving a weapon. I think anything less than a period of incarceration would depreciate the seriousness of the offense, and promote a serious disrespect for the law.”

For the charge of terroristic threats, Dawn was sentenced to 18 months in prison with credit for 176 days served. For using a deadly weapon to commit a felony, he was sentenced to four to six years in prison, to run consecutive with any sentence Dawn is currently serving. He will be eligible for parole in 33 months, with mandatory discharge occurring in 45 months, assuming Dawn loses no good time.

Another case against Dawn is pending in Box Butte County District Court, where Dawn is accused of assaulting an inmate in the Box Butte County Jail. According to court records, on March 29, deputies from the Box Butte County Sheriff’s Office were called to the jail in regard to an assault. They reviewed a video provided by the jailers, which showed an assault between two inmates, without Dawn participating. Once the two inmates were separated, Dawn punched one of them in the face.

Dawn was charged with assault by a confined person, a class 3A felony. Prior to this sentence, Dawn served a two-year prison sentence for attempted terroristic threats, a class 4 felony. According to court records, the sentence arose from an incident in June 2017, when Alliance Police Department Officers were dispatched to Bower Park in Alliance regarding a report of a person pointing a gun at juveniles. The juvenile who reported the incident told officers he had left Bower Park, heading westbound. Another person told officers that Dawn was inside their residence in the 100 block of Missouri Avenue, and that he had carried with him a black gun with duct tape wrapped around the butt.

Law enforcement officers instructed Dawn to leave the residence, using the public announcement system, but he did not exit. For three hours, they continued to give Dawn verbal commands. Officers obtained a search warrant, and members of the Nebraska State Patrol SWAT team entered the residence and took Dawn into custody. According to court records, officers searched the residence and located a “black rifle style BB gun with rear pistol grip” that had duct tape wrapped around the butt of the gun.

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