PLATTSMOUTH, Neb. — A change of attorneys has resulted in a delayed trial calendar for Matthew Stubbendieck, a man accused of helping his girlfriend commit suicide in Cass County.
The chief prosecutor in the assisted-suicide case, Cass County Attorney Nathan Cox, was appointed last week by Gov. Pete Ricketts to the bench in Nebraska’s 2nd Judicial District, covering Cass, Otoe and Sarpy Counties. Cox is expected to submit his resignation this week as county attorney.
Colin Palm, chief deputy Cass County attorney, will take over the Stubbendieck case. At a hearing Monday in Cass County District Court, Palm asked for more time to prepare and argued against Stubbendieck’s request for lower bail.
“I just inherited this case,” he told District Judge Michael Smith.
The unusual case involves a woman from Florida who came to Nebraska allegedly with the intention of ending her life. Alicia Wilemon-Sullivan flew to Omaha on July 31. She died in a wooded area near Weeping Water.
Authorities determined that her wounds were consistent with self-cutting, but her body was too badly decomposed to determine the role Stubbendieck played.
Stubbendieck, a Weeping Water native, had moved to Florida and was dating Wilemon-Sullivan. He told authorities that she had terminal cancer, that she wanted to end her life and that he helped her by taking her to a secluded spot near his hometown and staying with her as she died.
An autopsy revealed no tumors or masses.
Stubbendieck’s attorney, Julie Bear, has previously asked the court to reduce Stubbendieck’s bail.
On Monday, she again asked to have the $20,000 bail lowered to $7,500. Stubbendieck then would have to post $750 to be released.
She noted that Stubbendieck had been in jail for 90 days already and said he would not be a flight risk. She said he would live with his parents in their Weeping Water home until trial.
Palm said the circumstances of this case — “involving a death” — warranted keeping the bail at $20,000. That is down from the $50,000 set by another judge Oct. 17.
Smith postponed a decision on the new bail request to next week. He set a pretrial conference hearing for March 26 with a possible trial date of April 11.