Attempted Murder Trial Delayed Until May

Kevin Haug 

HARTINGTON, Neb. — The trial of a Fordyce, Nebraska, man facing eight charges — including two counts of first-degree attempted murder —has been rescheduled to May.

Kevin Haug received the continuance Jan. 13 in Cedar County District Court. The attempted murder charges allege Haug stabbed one man multiple times and later intentionally sought to run over a law enforcement officer with a vehicle.

Each attempted murder charge carries a maximum sentence of 50 years imprisonment and a minimum of one year in prison.

Last week, District Court Judge Bryan Meismer granted the two-month continuance for the trial. The judge initially granted a request to delay a pre-trial conference from Jan. 13 until March 9. In turn, the three-day trial —originally set for March 3-5 — was continued to May 13-15.

The trial is scheduled for the Cedar County Courthouse in Hartington. At that time, Haug will also be tried for one count of possession of a controlled substance, a Class IV felony. The drug charge carries a maximum sentence of five years imprisonment and a $10,000 fine with no minimum sentence.

The upcoming trial will occur nearly a year after the alleged July 2 incident at the Fordyce home of Rhea Haug, his estranged wife, and their children. Kevin Haug allegedly broke into the house in the early-morning hours and confronted Rhea Haug and Jimmy Olson, who were both at the residence.

Kevin Haug allegedly stabbed Olson multiple times with a machete and corn knife.

According to court documents, Olson suffered 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 was taken to a Yankton hospital for treatment, according to court records.

Kevin Haug allegedly left the residence, washed his hands and the weapons in a swimming pool and then left the scene in a vehicle. He allegedly was driving a stolen U-Haul and headed for Yankton, where he turned around after confronting South Dakota law enforcement officers at the Discovery Bridge.

Haug allegedly led Nebraska authorities on a high-speed chase in Cedar County, which included allegedly ramming into a Cedar County deputy’s vehicle and attempting to run over a Cedar County deputy sheriff. Haug was later apprehended following his collision with another vehicle at the Highway 81-84 intersection in Cedar County.

Haug’s case was initially heard in Cedar County Court, where he pleaded not guilty to the charges. He received a preliminary hearing on the two attempted murder charges and waived his right to a hearing on the other six charges.

During the preliminary hearing, Cedar County Judge Douglas Luebe determined probable cause existed on the two attempted murder charges. The judge bound Haug over to Cedar County District Court for trial on those charges along with the other six counts.

Special Deputy County Attorney Ed Matney is prosecuting the case, while Norfolk, Nebraska, attorney Frederick “Fritz” Bartell serves as court-appointed defense counsel.

Matney served as Cedar County attorney when the case began and, following his resignation from that office, has remained with the proceedings in the special capacity.

The amended Cedar County complaint against Haug includes two counts of first-degree attempted murder, one count of first-degree assault and one count of use of a deadly weapon to commit a felony, all Class 2 felonies; one count of possession of a deadly weapon to commit a felony, a Class 3 felony; one count of assault on an officer using a motor vehicle, a Class 3A felony; and one count of operation of a motor vehicle to avoid arrest and one count of criminal mischief, both Class 4 felonies.

As for material introduced by Bartell at the preliminary hearing, an agreement was reached to reduce the number of pages admitted into the public record from the original 46 to seven. In addition, the parties will review the papers to redact identifying information such as dates of birth or Social Security numbers.

In addition to the eight original charges, Haug faces two additional charges of violation of a protection order issued for Rhea Haug. He has pleaded not guilty to those charges, which are being heard in Cedar County Court.

Luebe presided over the Jan. 15 arraignment for the two charges on violating a protection order, a Class 2 misdemeanor.

The two new charges allege Kevin Haug violated the protection order Nov. 4 at 6:49 p.m. and 6:51 p.m. “by telephoning, contacting or otherwise communicating with Petitioner Rhea Haug.”

Haug appeared Jan. 15 on the new protection order charges and represented himself as defense counsel. Cedar County Attorney Nick Matney served as prosecutor.

The defendant was judged indigent, so Bartell was named court-appointed counsel on the new charges.

The case was continued to 11 a.m. Feb. 12 for pre-trial motions.

If Luebe finds probable cause on those crimes, Haug would be bound over to Cedar County District Court for further proceedings and a trial.

It was not immediately clear, if bound over to district court, whether Haug would be tried on the two new protection order charges at the same time as the eight original charges.

During the previous court action, Haug had been serving a sentence on a Madison County probation violation and remained jailed there while moving through Cedar County court proceedings.

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