WEST POINT, Neb. -- An Oakland, Nebraska, woman who gave false information to authorities investigating the death of a Rosalie, Nebraska, man was sentenced Thursday to two years in prison.
Jenna Merrill, 32, had pleaded guilty in November in Cuming County District Court to one count of accessory to a felony.
District Judge Mark Johnson gave Merrill credit for 451 days already spent in jail prior to her sentencing. He sentenced her to 12 months of post-release supervision once she is released from custody. Once released, Merrill will be required to physically appear at the Cuming County Sheriff's Office every Tuesday morning to report where she is living. Johnson gave her permission to live with her grandmother in Sergeant Bluff.
Merrill is the second person sentenced to prison in connection with the March 10, 2017, death of Ernest Warnock.
Becky Weitzenkamp, 43, of Oakland, was sentenced in October to 18-20 years in prison on one count of accessory to a felony. She pleaded guilty to buying a can of lighter fluid and then driving Derek Olson to Warnock's house to set it on fire.
According to court documents, Derek and Jody Olson were at Warnock's home to retrieve property belonging to Weitzenkamp, who also was present. A fight broke out, and Warnock stabbed Jody Olson in the arm before Derek Olson stabbed Warnock several times in the neck and head and hit him in the head with a ball peen hammer. An autopsy found that Warnock, 64, was dead before his home was set on fire.
Warnock's body was found inside the burned rubble the next day.
Merrill told a law enforcement officer that stopped a car in which she, Derek Olson, Jody Olson and Becky Weitzenkamp were riding on the night of March 10 that Jody Olson had been stabbed at a fight at the Bonanza Bar in Homer, Nebraska, and they were taking him to a Sioux City hospital.
Investigators later determined that the four had not been at the bar and that Jody Olson had been injured during the altercation with Warnock. Investigators later found clothing and a knife in a trash container near where Merrill was living with Derek Olson.
Jody Olson, 50, of Oakland, pleaded guilty in December to second-degree murder and faces a prison sentence of 40-60 years. He's scheduled to be sentenced April 4.
Derek Olson, 29, also of Oakland, is scheduled to stand trial on March 11 on charges of second-degree murder, accessory to a felony, use of a weapon to commit a felony, first-degree arson and cruelty to an animal for the death of a dog in the fire.