DAKOTA CITY | A teenager who pleaded no contest last month to a reduced charge in the fatal shooting and dismemberment of an Emerson, Nebraska, man has changed his mind about backing out of the plea agreement.
Brayan Galvan-Hernandez had asked District Judge Paul Vaughan in a handwritten letter filed Nov. 17 in Dakota County District Court if he could take back his guilty plea and instead go to trial because, he said, his attorneys had lied to him and pressured him to enter the plea deal.
But earlier this week, Galvan-Hernandez withdrew his request, saying he had discussed his concerns about the plea agreement with his attorneys and he wished to go forward with his Dec. 12 sentencing on charges of attempted second-degree murder and accessory to a felony.
"I have made the decision to go forward with the plea agreement previously entered in the court and I would like to be sentenced ...," the document signed by Galvan-Hernandez said. His attorneys, Stuart Mills, of Pender, Nebraska, and Douglas Stratton, of Norfolk, Nebraska, also signed the document.
Galvan-Hernandez, 19, of Wakefield, Nebraska, faces a sentencing range of 50-70 years in prison. As part of his plea agreement, he pleaded no contest on Oct. 10 to attempted second-degree murder, which was reduced from first-degree murder, and pleaded guilty to the accessory charge. Charges of use of a firearm to commit a felony and abandoning human skeletal remains or burial goods will be dismissed.
Galvan-Hernandez would have faced life in prison had a jury found him guilty at trial of first-degree murder. He was charged with Andres Surber, 26, also of Wakefield, for the Nov. 1, 2016, shooting death of Kraig Kubik, 42, and the dismemberment of his body.
Prosecutors have said that Surber shot Kubik in the back of the head and Galvan-Hernandez either knew that Surber planned to shoot Kubik or helped him plan the shooting. Prosecutors also believe Galvan-Hernandez removed or destroyed evidence.
Assistant Nebraska Attorney General Corey O'Brien said during Galvan-Hernandez' plea hearing that video from surveillance cameras at Kubik's home showed Galvan-Hernandez and Surber meeting with Kubik and later that night dragging what was believed to be Kubik's body across the yard.
Investigators responding to Kubik's disappearance the next morning found a pool of blood near his car and his glasses in his driveway. Investigators were later called to an abandoned farmhouse 24 miles away from Kubik's home and found his severed right arm and right leg inside the trunk of a Chevrolet Impala, which surveillance camera footage from a Wakefield convenience store showed Galvan-Hernandez driving on the night Kubik was shot.
The rest of Kubik's remains were found three days later in a culvert about four miles from the farmhouse. Autopsy results showed that Kubik died of a single gunshot wound to the back of the head.
Surber has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder, use of a firearm to commit a felony and possession of a firearm by a prohibited person. In April, Vaughan found Surber mentally incompetent to stand trial, and Surber is currently receiving psychiatric treatment to determine if his competency can be restored to stand trial.