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A federal judge in Lincoln sentenced a 63-year-old Nebraska man to six months of incarceration Tuesday for assaulting a U.S. marshal in Omaha during his arrest on a warrant in 2017.

Ronald J. Mockelman pleaded guilty to assault on a federal officer.

At the hearing in January, Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Russell said while U.S. marshals were transporting Mockelman to the office on Dec. 13, 2017, Mockelman struck one of them in the chest and face.

He said Mockelman quickly was taken to the ground and physically restrained.

Mockelman said he fell to the ground after his shoulder hit the marshal's face. But he admitted he was trying to assault him.

"I apologize for my behavior for sure," he said then.

In 2015, Mockelman got nine months in federal prison for leaving threatening messages for Department of Transportation workers, upset about a $3,680 fine because he didn't have a drug-testing program at his shop near Valley where he was the only worker.

Among other things, he said he was buying a gun and "every last one of you is dead.” He called back to apologize the following Monday.

Mockelman, who had gotten 90 days in jail for similar conduct in 2011, ultimately violated his supervised release on the 2015 case, which led to his arrest in 2017.

That year, according to court records, he made threats to "blow up the county," frustrated when Douglas County Environmental Services wouldn't help him rezone his property; and to beat police with a baseball bat or shoot them in calls to a courthouse in Massachusetts upset about a citation he'd gotten.

At sentencing in Lincoln on Tuesday, defense attorney Michael Gooch said when Mockelman lunged at the U.S. marshal it was foolhardy and wrong, but he immediately apologized.

"Maybe it's a tiny sign, but it's a good sign," Gooch said.

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Mockelman said he was disappointed the prosecution was delayed so long, but he called it "water under the bridge."

Senior U.S. District Judge Richard Kopf started to call him out on his use of the phrase, when Mockelman cut in, saying it probably wasn't good to say that right now, with all the flooding in the region.

Mockelman said he hoped that he would be able to go to the Dismas Charities House in Omaha, where he was living when the indictment came down, so he could help clean up from the flood, something he said he's done in the Valley and Waterloo area since he was 22.

"I've seen a lot of floods. Nothing quite like this," he said. "It's historic like they say it is. People underwater never dreamt they'd be underwater."

Kopf agreed, before sentencing him to incarceration, plus a year of supervised release, recommending to the Bureau of Prisons he be placed at Dismas.

"Mr. Mockelman, I hope I don't see you again," the judge said. "It's not that I don't have a certain affection for you, oddly, but you're getting to an age where this is gonna get real old."

To which, Mockelman said: "It's real old already. I guarantee you that. I got better things to do."

 

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Reporter

Lori Pilger is a public safety reporter.

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