Escapee waives counsel, preliminary hearing; charges against wife dismissed
A state prison escapee waived his right to a lawyer and a preliminary hearing during his first appearance Friday in Scotts Bluff County Court on local charges of third degree arson and theft by receiving a stolen property. 31 year old James Bannister, who was wanted on a Lincoln County warrant for escape when arrested at a Scottsbluff residence Thursday afternoon, is being held on one million dollars cash bond set by Judge Kris Mickey.
Bannister is accused of setting a car on fire that he stole in Lincoln while out on a job seeking pass from the Lincoln Community Correction Center. Scotts Bluff County Attorney Doug Warner says he is leaning toward moving forward with prosecuting the local charges before sending Bannister back to Lincoln on the escape count. Warner noted Bannister was in prison for a burglary charge so he is considering filing an habitual criminal count as well that would enhance the penalties if convicted and would keep Bannister from coming back to the community.
Charges of accessory to a felony against Bannister's wife, 27 year old Jennifer Edwards were dismissed Friday. She still faces a possession of methamphetamine count and a misdemeanor marijuana charge after she was found with the drugs in a car early on the morning July 11th while parked at Riverside Park.
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