Virgil Apodaca, Sr.
Virgil Apodaca Sr. of North Platte appeared in court Tuesday but did not enter a plea, as evidence continues to slowly develop in the alleged rapes of three teenage women last summer. Apodaca has been jailed since May and is only now appearing in district court. The case has been slow to proceed because it took months before DNA test results were known. A preliminary hearing was finally held in mid-December in county court.
After two more weeks of consideration, Lincoln County Judge Michael Piccolo ruled there was enough evidence to bind Apodaca’s case over district court.
Usually, a defendant makes their plea at a district court arrraignment, but not this time. Defense attorney Pat Hays asked Lincoln County District Judge Richard Birch for more time Tuesday to look at a written transcript of the preliminary hearing in December.
Hays also asked Birch to reduce Apodaca’s $1 million bond, noting that his client has been in jail for more than nine months. Hays also said Apodaca has some physical problems that he needs to be out of jail to deal with.
Deputy Lincoln County Attorney Tanya Roberts-Connick objected, noting the seriousness of the charges. Birch sided with the prosecution, denying any bond reduction and leaving it at $1 million.
Apodaca, 45, is charged with aiding and abetting sexual assault plus two counts of distributing a drug to the women.
In all, five men were charged in the rapes. However, charges against two of them were dropped after the preliminary hearings in December. Suspects Anthony and Jeromy Apodaca were released. Piccolo ruled that prosecutors did not have enough evidence to convict them.
Based on victim’s statements and DNA evidence, another Apodaca son, Virgil, Jr., and a friend, Anthony Nunnenkamp, 28, of North Platte are still charged. Their cases have also been bound over to district court, but are progressing slowly, awaiting more DNA test results.