Citing a history of criminal behavior, including her involvement in a murder that shook Alliance in 2011, District Court Judge Travis O’Gorman sentenced Rose Siefke to serve 12 to 18 years in prison on a weapon charge.
The charge against Siefke came as the result of a report that Siefke, who is a convicted felon, was in possession of a firearm, according to the Affidavit for Custody.
A deputy with the Box Butte County Sheriff’s Office responded to the report that Siefke was in possession of a weapon, as well as ammunition. While the search warrant was being executed at her residence, law enforcement officials located a HI-POINT 45 ACP pistol with a fully-loaded magazine next to it.
Siefke’s purse was found during the search, and inside officers located a black meth pipe with residue and a small plastic bag containing what was believed to methamphetamine. Officers arrested Siefke at the scene, and she was charged with possession of a controlled substance, a class 4 felony, possession of drug paraphernalia, an infraction, and possession of a firearm by a prohibited person, a class 1D felony.
Through a plea agreement, the first two charges were dismissed, and the third was reduced to attempted possession of a firearm by a prohibited person, a class 2 felony.
At her sentencing, Prosecutor Jamian Simmons recounted Siefke’s criminal history, noting her actions have progressively gotten more severe.
“At first glance, the court may look at the charge by Miss Siefke, the attempted possession of a firearm by a felon; it comparatively doesn’t seem like it’s as significant as other charges, particularly other charges Miss Siefke has been involved with in the past. I think what’s important here is we look at the chronology of events, and the fact that over a significant period of time, she just cannot stay out of trouble. We know Miss Siefke’s criminal history is very, very significant. We know that since she finished serving time for larger cases in the past, when she came back to Box Butte County, she’s had a string of criminal behaviors that law enforcement has had to deal with,” Simmons said.
A host of the criminal behavior, Simmons said, spawns from the use of methamphetamine. She said addiction is no excuse for her actions.
“In this particular case, Ms. Siefke was putting herself in a situation where she was residing in a house where she knew there were guns in the house,” said Simmons. “She may claim they belong to someone else, yet, she was the one who bought the bullets for the gun. When Department of Health and Human Services representatives were in the house, she was the one who picked up the guns to move them. It’s just this culmination of more and more criminal activity that she just cannot stay away from.”
Simmons recommended a “lengthy period of incarceration” as the proper sentence for Siefke. Rebecca Chasek, Siefke’s attorney, recognized her client’s criminal history, but also noted that Siefke’s life has been a hard one with a series of unfortunate events happening throughout it.
“I think there some factors you need to take into account,” said Chasek. “Miss Siefke is the product of unfortunate circumstances. She was a ward of the state for a period of time, and her teenage years were marked by substantial substance abuse. She has attachment disorders and post traumatic stress. She’s had numerous attempts where she’s attempted suicide.”
Chasek noted that Siefke has sought out rehabilitation services, but has been turned down due to her criminal history. She requested that Siefke be sentenced to a short term of incarceration, during which she would be able to take advantage of the rehabilitation services in prison.
Prior to sentencing, Siefke read a letter she wrote, apologizing for her actions. She recalled the choices she has made throughout her life led her to the courtroom.
“I realize the choices I have made have been reckless and irresponsible,” said Siefke. “The past two years have been a huge struggle for me, and I have been sorry for all the things that led up to my arrest. (…) I should have known better than to be around a firearm. I was using meth heavily and did not consider the consequences of my actions at the time. I ask for your forgiveness. (…) I realize right from wrong, and apologize for the wrongs I’ve done. I’m working on being the best person I can be. Please give me a chance to prove my worth if it pleases the court to do so.”
Judge O’Gorman said he took the pre-sentence investigation report into consideration while developing a sentence for Siefke, as well as a 90-day evaluation from the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services.
“Miss Siefke, you have what’s beginning to be a long criminal history,” said O’Gorman. “I think your main problem is drug and alcohol addiction. You’ve got a long history of that, as well as assaultive type behavior, and you also served time in the penitentiary for your actions related to a murder and disposal of human remains. I think anything less than a period of incarceration would depreciate the seriousness of the offense and promote a disrespect for the law.”
Judge O’Gorman sentenced Siefke to serve not less than 12 years, and not more than 18 years in prison with credit for 293 days served. Siefke will be eligible for parole in six years and mandatory discharge in nine years, assuming she loses no good time.