A day after Omahan Jason Welch died of injuries sustained in a police shooting, his girlfriend and accused accomplice appeared in court.
A Douglas County judge on Wednesday set bail at $1 million for Jennifer Lovings, 35. She must post 10 percent -- or $100,000 to be released from the Douglas County Corrections Center.
Lovings is charged with attempted assault on an officer, possession of methamphetamine, conspiracy to commit a felony and use of a deadly weapon to commit a felony.
Her attorney, James Martin Davis, asked for a lower bail amount, arguing that authorities are using Lovings to cover up a wrongful shooting by an Omaha police officer.
“It was an unjustifiable homicide,” Davis said.
Welch, 34, died Tuesday, four days after police tried to arrest him and Lovings as part of a methamphetamine ring. Welch was a passenger in an SUV driven by Lovings. An undercover police officer in the parking lot of a Walgreens drugstore at 51st and Center Streets opened fire during an attempted arrest.
Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine said Wednesday that he couldn't respond to Davis' specific allegations; he is waiting on final investigative reports, including the autopsy on Welch.
But, Kleine said, preliminary findings indicate the officer's actions were justified.
“Let's let everything run its course as part of the process,” Kleine said. For Davis to “say things like that ... is nonsense.”
A grand jury will determine whether the officer [--] who has not been named by the Police Department will be charged; such panels review all in-custody deaths.
In addition to Lovings, police arrested six people who they say were part of the conspiracy to sell meth. On Friday, officers served search warrants at three homes, seizing guns, $500,000 worth of meth and more than $95,000 in cash.
When officers approached Lovings and Welch, they said, the couple tried to flee. Police said Welch appeared to be reaching for a gun and Lovings rammed the SUV into several police vehicles.
The officer who opened fire was standing between the SUV and his vehicle, Police Chief Todd Schmaderer has said.
Davis said Wednesday that the officer was standing to the rear of the SUV and hit Welch in the back of the head when he fired. He said that police cars rammed Lovings' vehicle and that she was trying to get away from what she thought were “men with guns” because, according to her account, officers failed to identify themselves.
Lovings was not in the SUV when police found it by using an electronic tracking device that a judge had approved. She turned herself in Sunday.
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