Proceedings Delayed In Attempted-Murder Case

Cedar County Deputy Sheriff Chad Claussen escorts Fordyce, Nebraska, defendant Kevin Haug into court Wednesday for a hearing on attempted murder and other charges related to an alleged July 2 multiple stabbing at a Fordyce residence.

HARTINGTON, Neb. — Court proceedings have been delayed for a Fordyce, Nebraska, man charged with first-degree attempted murder.

Kevin Haug was scheduled Wednesday for a preliminary hearing in connection with an alleged July 2 multiple stabbing. He faces five charges in connection with an early-morning incident at a Fordyce residence when he allegedly confronted his wife, Rhea Haug, and another man, James Olson.

The two men reportedly got into an altercation, where Kevin Haug allegedly stabbed Olson multiple times with 7- and 10-inch knives and caused extensive injuries to the victim. Olson was taken to Avera Sacred Heart Hospital in Yankton for treatment and was released.

According to court documents, Olson had a cut on his forehead, a stab wound in his upper right abdomen that required surgery, a deep laceration to his left hand and cuts on his lower left abdomen.

Olson appeared at Haug’s previous court appearance last month and offered to testify at the hearing. Olson didn’t take the stand, but remained in the courtroom during the proceedings.

Besides first-degree attempted murder, Haug faces charges of first-degree assault, burglary, use of a deadly weapon to commit a felony and possession of a deadly weapon to commit a felony.

Haug’s preliminary hearing was scheduled for Wednesday in Cedar County Court, determining if he would be bound over to Cedar County District Court on the felony charges. However, he appeared without an attorney.

Cedar County Judge Doug Luebe noted the proceedings were already delayed once because Haug had appeared without legal representation.

"Mr. Haug, the last time you were here, you advised the court you were going to hire an attorney," the judge said. "Are you still wishing to hire your own attorney?"

Haug responded that he had been unable to make any contacts.

"I spent the last month in the hospital. We’re not allowed to make phone calls, sir," Haug told the judge.

Haug had suffered "significant" injuries because of a motor vehicle collision, Cedar County Attorney Ed Matney told the Press & Dakotan.

Matney was unable to give details on the collision, which he said occurred in Cedar County.

A Facebook post shows what it indicates is the collision, which reportedly resulted in Haug’s capture following a high-speed chase from authorities after the alleged stabbing.

According to the post, Haug was driving a U-Haul when he crashed into a semi while eluding police near the intersection of Highways 81 and 84 in Cedar County.

A Yankton Police Department post on Facebook indicated that a vehicle, matching a description of the U-Haul, had earlier crashed into a YPD police car before escaping over the Discovery Bridge into Nebraska.

Haug continues his recovery from the motor vehicle collision, which has complicated the scheduling of court appearances and his presence at those hearings, Matney told the Press & Dakotan.

Haug had suffered "significant" injuries from the accident and was taken to a hospital for treatment, Matney said. The Nebraska State Patrol (NSP) later arrested Haug at the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) in Omaha.

The NSP transferred him to the custody of the Cedar County Sheriff’s Office. At the time, he was housed in the Antelope County Jail in Neligh, Nebraska.

"Antelope County has a better facility for meeting his medical needs," Matney told the Press & Dakotan on Wednesday.

During Wednesday’s hearing, Haug then asked for a reduction of his $1 million bond. "If I could get a bond reduction, then I could get out and hire an attorney," he said.

Matney immediately objected to the request. He pointed to the counts already filed against Haug with the possibility of more charges.

"The state vehemently opposes any reduction on bond. There are a number of other felony charges that could be filed at the appropriate time," Matney said.

"In this case, attempted murder is charged. For this motion (for lower bond), the state would call witnesses and present other evidence. As for the court entertaining a bond reduction, the state is very much opposed to it."

Matney noted the presence in the courtroom of public defender Nikki Brandt, who serves with the Yankton law firm of Kennedy, Pier, Loftus & Reynolds.

"There is a public defender in the court, and we could set a date certain for a preliminary hearing," Matney said. "The state has no objections to continue it one more time, but we need to move forward."

Luebe said he was weighing a number of factors, but he agreed on the need to move forward with the proceedings in a timely manner.

"The court sees it as somewhat of a balancing act," the judge said. "I hold proper consideration for the defendant’s medical concerns. But at the same time, these (court) matters need to be brought forward."

Luebe turned his attention to the defendant.

"I’ll give you one more opportunity for a continuance in this case, but at the same time, Mr. Haug, I’m going to move forward," the judge said.

Luebe asked if the defendant had any other pending legal matters.

Matney noted Haug was part of three different court actions in Cedar County. Besides the charges related to the alleged stabbing, Haug faces two drug charges in Cedar County Court and a probation violation hearing in Cedar County District Court.

Haug was represented by Norfolk, Nebraska, attorney Frederick "Fritz" Bartell at a district court hearing last week, Matney said.

Matney asked for the appointment of stand-by counsel, at least for the time being, so Haug had legal representation and the proceedings could move forward.

"We have a public defender ready to go and do it for us, but if the other attorney (Bartell) has more background and understanding of this case, we can go with it," Matney said.

Luebe agreed, saying he would appoint Bartell for now and contact the attorney on whether he would accept the case. If not, the court could appoint a public defender, the judge said.

Luebe set a Sept. 11 date for a preliminary hearing in Cedar County Court. The judge continued all bond conditions, including no contact with the alleged victim.

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