Appeal from the District Court for Red Willow County: Jack H. Hendrix, William F. Colwell, and Herbert A. Ronin, Judges.
White, C. J., Spencer, Boslaugh, McCown, Newton, Clinton, and Brodkey, JJ.
1. : Guilty Plea. The standard for determining the validity of a guilty plea is whether or not it represents a voluntary and intelligent choice among the alternative courses of action open to the defendant.
2. : Homicide: Words and Phrases. The time required for premeditation and deliberation may be so short that it is instantaneous, and the design or purpose to kill may be formed upon premeditation and deliberation at any moment before the homicide is committed.
3. : Guilty Plea: Waiver. A valid and voluntary plea of guilty establishes the defendant's guilt of the offenses charged and embodies a waiver of all defenses to the charge, whether procedural, statutory, or constitutional.
4. : Sentences. It is within the discretion of the District Court to direct that sentences imposed for separate crimes be served consecutively.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Mccown
The defendant, Harold D. Nokes, pleaded guilty to one count of first degree murder for the killing of Wilma Hoyt, and one count of second degree murder for the killing of Edwin Hoyt. A three-Judge panel imposed a sentence of life imprisonment on the charge of first degree murder. The presiding District Judge imposed a sentence of life imprisonment on the second degree murder count, and directed the sentences to run consecutively. This appeal followed.
The relevant facts of the killings are taken from a statement made by the defendant on January 4, 1974, in the presence of a court reporter; the special prosecutor; the defendant's counsel; and the sheriff of Frontier County. The statement is designated as exhibit A and included in the bill of exceptions.
Edwin and Wilma Hoyt disappeared from their farm home near Culbertson, Nebraska, on September 23, 1973. After a couple of days, their daughter, Kay Hein, suspected foul play and gave the police some information which set off the extensive investigation that followed. The defendant, Harold D. Nokes, was among those investigated.
The defendant, Harold D. Nokes, was 45 years of age. He was employed by the State Department of Roads as an area foreman in McCook, Nebraska. He and his wife, Ena, had been married for some 27 years and had lived for 20 years in their home at 903 East G Street in McCook. Harold and Ena Nokes had ...