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Lincoln man who waved chainsaw, shouting racial epithets, gets 10 years in prison
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Lincoln man who waved chainsaw, shouting racial epithets, gets 10 years in prison

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Daniel Stueck

Daniel Stueck

In a short proceeding in front of a handful of supporters, a Lincoln man who in November 2020 uttered racial slurs toward his Black neighbor while holding a chainsaw was sentenced Thursday to 10 to 15 years in prison. 

The sentence, issued by Judge Darla Ideus, comes close to the mandatory minimum for Daniel Stueck, who had twice before been convicted of felonies.

The 42-year-old pleaded no contest to a charge of terroristic threats and habitual criminal  a designation that comes with a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in Nebraska. In exchange, prosecutors dropped a charge of use of a deadly weapon to commit a felony.

The charges stemmed from a November 2020 incident in which Stueck — whose attorney said he had drank 15 beers  confronted his neighbor, started his chainsaw, revved the engine and began waving it at her, telling her to get off his property and yelling racial epithets at her, police say.

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Stueck told police then and repeated in court Thursday that he had recently been the victim of theft at the apartment complex. Police believe Stueck blamed his neighbor "because she was Black."

Addressing the court Thursday, Eric Miller, appearing on behalf of Deputy County Attorney Amy Goodro, noted Stueck's lengthy criminal history and asked Ideus to consider how terrifying the incident was for the victim.

Todd Molvar, Stueck's attorney, largely agreed with Miller's assessment, acknowledging his client's previous convictions and calling the facts of the case "disturbing."

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Molvar said Stueck mostly can't remember the incident but has been apologetic throughout court proceedings. 

"Neighbors noted that he was running his chainsaw in his apartment throughout the day," Molvar said. "Mr. Stueck acknowledges that. He said in his statement, 'Well, you know, I wish someone would have called me in and (I'd have) got(ten) a disturbing the peace ticket.' But that's not how things went down.'" 

Both the attorney and Stueck, when he addressed the court, described the incident as an unplanned, "one in a million" outburst.

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"I really don't remember what was. ... I was having a little temper tantrum, but other than that, I don't — I'm sure sorry," Stueck said. "I wasn't meaning to come outside to do any harm to anybody or anything like that." 

The defense team sought the minimum sentence, with Molvar noting that without the habitual criminal designation, Stueck would likely be looking at 3-5 years in prison.

Instead, he'll serve more than nine, given credit for 348 days served. 

Reach the writer at 402-473-7223 or awegley@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @andrewwegley

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A Kansas City, Missouri, native, Andrew Wegley joined the Journal Star as breaking news reporter after graduating from Northwest Missouri State University in May 2021.

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