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George Smith

A week after Steven Oliver was stabbed and died from his injuries, George Smith was charged with second degree murder, which, if he is found guilty, could send him to prison for life.

According to the affidavit for custody, on June 19, at approximately 7:25 p.m., emergency medical services responded to the report of a man in his 40s receiving a knife wound to the chest at 1020 Toluca Avenue in Alliance.

Officers with the Alliance Police Department also responded to the call. When emergency personnel arrived, they found Steven Oliver “laying in the lawn with two stab wounds in his torso,” the affidavit stated. A witness to the incident told officers the person responsible was inside the residence.

An officer saw a man identified as George Smith, 66, of Alliance, in the doorway of the residence, and he ordered Smith out. Smith did not comply and “told officers to shoot him,” the affidavit stated. Officers used a Taser to subdue Smith while an EMS rendered aid to Oliver. Officers located a bloody switch-blade knife at the scene.

According to the affidavit, the witness to the incident told officers they were the only people inside the residence at the time of the stabbing, and that she was asleep in another room. She said she awoke when she heard Smith yelling at Oliver, which evolved into a physical altercation. She exited the bedroom and saw Oliver with two stab wounds to the torso.

According the affidavit, the witness prevented Smith from leaving the residence while she rendered aid to Oliver. Oliver was taken to Box Butte General Hospital, where he succumbed to the injuries he received and was pronounced dead at 8:17 p.m.

Smith was taken into custody. On June 25, the Box Butte County Attorney’s Office filed a motion to appoint a special prosecutor, with Box Butte County assuming financial responsibilities for expenses associated with the prosecution.

On June 26, Douglas Warner from the Attorney General’s Office, filed felony charges against Smith: second-degree murder, a class 1B felony, and use of a deadly weapon to commit a felony, a class 2 felony.

Smith appeared in Box Butte County Court on Tuesday morning via Zoom from the Scotts Bluff County Detention Center. Smith told Judge Paul Wess that he had only received a copy of the complaint at 9:30 p.m. the night before the hearing, but that he would proceed with the initial appearance.

Judge Wess appointed the Commission for Public Advocacy to represent Smith throughout the case, and said a date for a preliminary hearing would be set at a later time.

If Smith is found guilty, he faces a minimum of 20 years and a maximum of life in prison on the first count, and a minimum of one year and a maximum of 50 years on the second.

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