The first-degree murder charge against 16-year-old Jesus Martinez was bound over Thursday to Lincoln County District Court.
Martinez appeared for a brief preliminary hearing in county court to face two charges: not only murder but also use of a weapon to commit a felony.
Family members of both the victim and defendant attended the hearing.
Martinez, 16, along with co-defendant Brayden Turner, 16, are charged with the murder of Ethan Pohlmeier on the night of Sept. 14 in North Platte’s Centennial Park.
Police looked for the suspects for a month before they were found in Grand Island, thanks to a tip received by the Hall County Attorney.
At the hearing Monday, Lincoln County Attorney Rebecca Harling presented a sworn affidavit signed by investigators as factual evidence that a crime was committed.
That affidavit had been submitted to the court during the police investigation, in order to obtain an arrest warrant for Martinez.
Defense attorneys Patrick Heng and Steven Potter did not object to entering the document into the record.
They offered no evidence in support of their client’s innocence.
Keith County Judge Edward Steenburg found probable cause to believe a crime was committed and bound the case over to district court. He also ruled that Martinez will remain locked up without bond.
Other than answering a couple questions asked by the court, Martinez sat quietly, with his head down most of the time.
Steenburg told Martinez he faces maximum penalties of life in prison for murder and 50 years for the weapon, if convicted.
Potter asked that the judge inform his client that if he is convicted of both crimes, the two sentences could be served at the same time. Steenburg did.
Steenburg presided over the preliminary hearing for Judge Kent Turnbull, who was not available for the hearing Thursday.
The arrest warrant is sealed from public view, as requested by the prosecution, who said it contains privileged information.
At the start of the proceedings, Heng and Potter asked Steenburg to advise Martinez of his rights, including the right to cross-examine his accusers at a trial by a jury of his peers, and also his right to refuse to testify on his own behalf.
Steenburg then asked Martinez if he understood his rights. Martinez replied that he did.
Turner is scheduled to appear in court next week.