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A Columbus man on Friday was sentenced to prison after being convicted of a drug-related offense.

Cole A. Shatto, 22, was sentenced by Platte County District Court Judge Robert Steinke to spend the next 18 months in the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services after previously pleading no contest and being found guilty of being in possession of Schedule 4 controlled substance, a Class IV felony.

Under the Nebraska Good Time Law, Shatto, who was credited with 44 days served in the Platte County Jail, could be eligible for release in nine months.

The state, represented by Chief Deputy County Attorney Breanna Anderson, said that the state didn’t oppose a probation sentence in this particular case. Defense attorney Bryan Meismer made a probation appeal on behalf of his client, however, Steinke objected to the notion of probation explaining that Shatto’s recent actions in conjunction with a lengthy juvenile and adult criminal record didn’t make him an adequate probation candidate.

Meismer, speaking on behalf of his client, said that Shatto – whom he says struggles with substance abuse problems – wouldn’t benefit nearly as much from a prison sentence as he would from probation.

“I don’t think he would benefit from prison, but would through the programs provided through probation,” Meismer said.

Prior to levying the prison sentence, Steinke highlighted Shatto’s unwillingness to cooperate throughout the criminal proceeding noting he failed to appear for his original July sentencing and absconded prior to being arrested in August.

In addition, he said the defendant has already served a stint in prison after being convicted of attempted second-degree assault and making terroristic threats.

Shatto was arrested Jan. 27 after law enforcement was dispatched to a local residence in reference to a report of a disturbance involving a man “beating up” a woman’s vehicle, according to a warrantless arrest affidavit.

Upon arrival, the alleged victim stated that she didn’t want law enforcement to take any action for her vehicle being damaged. According the arrest report, officers saw a brown leather jacket lying next to the vehicle. The woman confirmed that it was Shatto’s.

Picking up the jacket, court records show the officer smelled the odor of marijuana emitting from the jacket and located a baggie of marijuana – field testing less than an ounce – in its pocket, along with a small baggie containing 30 green pills later identified as Clonazepam. The baggie containing the pills was wrapped with $397.

A witness, the arrest report says, confirmed that the defendant was wearing the jacket earlier that evening. Shatto was subsequently located and arrested on charges of being in possession of a controlled substance, being in possession of marijuana less than an ounce and for being in possession of drug paraphernalia.

Sam Pimper is the news editor of The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at

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