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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

[NE] Recant of police officer's wife regarding reported lethal domestic assault limits the court.

...[Douglas County District Judge Greg] Schatz said he was convinced that [Omaha Police Officer Sean] Heyenga’s wife initially told the truth to police about a December 2009 assault... Three weeks later, she changed her story...

Previous Posts:
  • [NE] Wife of Officer Heyenga says her eyes rolled back in her head and she lost consciousness - ...Documents claim [Omaha Police Officer Sean] Heyenga wrapped both hands around [NM]'s neck and began strangling her until her eyes rolled back in her head and she lost consciousness... Officers wrote that [NM] had "visible marks," of strangulation, which were “photographed by the crime lab”... In court Friday afternoon, details emerged suggesting this isn't the first time Heyenga had attacked his wife... [NM] claims she has been too scared to come forward because Heyenga is a police officer... [A 12 year old child was there during the attack]
  • [NE] Officer Sean Heyenga will stand trial for felony domestic violence - strangulation and terroristic threatening of his wife - An Omaha police officer accused of choking his wife until she passed out will stand trial on assault charges...
  • [NE] It's no surprise. Officer Heyenga's wife recants and doesn't show up for court - ...Prosecutor Matt Kuhse has said Heyenga’s wife was choked to the point of losing consciousness, that capillaries in her eyes had burst... She wrote that her husband was drunk when, after a disagreement, he pinned her to the floor and choked her severely. “I was afraid of that I was going to die,” she wrote. But on Monday, Heyenga asked to dismiss the protection order... The wife wasn't in court, and court documents showed that she dismissed the protection order... The wife's attorney told KETV NewsWatch 7 that he hasn't heard from her in days. The attorney said he thinks she might be terrified...
The Associated Press
August 31, 2010
A former Omaha police officer will spend 30 days in jail and spend two years on probation for choking his wife last December. Douglas County District Judge Greg Schatz sentenced 41-year-old Sean Heyenga Tuesday for two counts of misdemeanor assault. Prosecutors said Heyenga came home after drinking and got into an argument with his wife. They say he tried to strangle her, caused her to pass out and threatened to kill her. The original felony charges against Heyenga were reduced after his wife changed her story about what happened during the attack and said she was the aggressor. Schatz also ordered Heyenga to take anger management classes and get treatment for alcohol abuse. [LINK]

World-Herald Staff Writer
By Todd Cooper
August 31, 2010
In a "frustrating" turn of events, prosecutors say, they were unable to secure felony convictions against an Omaha police officer accused of a vicious assault on his wife. Tuesday, a judge gave the officer 30 days in jail for two counts of misdemeanor assault... followed by two years of probation. [Douglas County District Judge Greg] Schatz said he was convinced that Heyenga’s wife initially told the truth to police about a December 2009 assault... Three weeks later, she changed her story... Schatz didn’t buy it. But in putting Heyenga on probation, the judge noted that Heyenga had no record. And the wife has remained with Heyenga. "She obviously is in denial," Schatz said. "She wants to stay with the defendant. I think what would be best for her to stay with him is to place him on probation and get him help for his anger management." Schatz ordered that Heyenga complete anger management counseling and treatment for alcohol abuse as part of his probation. Heyenga originally was charged with two felonies punishable by up to 10 years in prison. "I can assure you, if you violate this probation, I’m going to resentence you to jail on both of those counts," Schatz said. "I would hope for your sake as well as (the wife’s) that you get some help for whatever problems you have." [LINK]

Since last post:

By Todd Cooper
June 15, 2010
[Excerpts] ...The victim in the Heyenga case initially told police and court officials that her husband, Sean, then an Omaha police officer, had threatened to kill her and had choked her so hard and so long that she lost consciousness and urinated on herself. “I was afraid that I was going to die,” she wrote in a court affidavit. “I remember him choking me harder and harder and (I) was unable to speak. I was going in and out of consciousness.” Three weeks later, she changed her story. She said that she was the aggressor and that “Sean never threatened me and I never lost consciousness.” “I am in no danger from Sean nor have I ever been,” she wrote. She has been steadfast in that second story ever since. The result? Originally charged with strangulation and terroristic threats - felonies punishable by up to 10 years in prison — Heyenga pleaded no contest Monday to two misdemeanor assault charges in connection with the Dec. 17 attack at his home... prosecutors say they tried to work around the victims' changed stories... [Full article here]
[police officer involved domestic violence oidv intimate partner violence ipv abuse law enforcement public safety recant recanted nebraska state politics]

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