Though the bench trial against Dawes County Sheriff Karl Dailey reached a conclusion after less than two days last week, it will still be another two weeks before Judge Randin Roland of Sidney issues his ruling. Roland took the case under advisement after both the prosecution and defense rested on Wednesday, Jan. 6, the second day of the trial.
A formal complaint was filed against Dailey on May 20, 2020 by Chief Deputy Attorney General David Bydalek. It charges Dailey with official misconduct, and alleges that on or about July 21, 2019, the sheriff refused to receive Jesse Sierra, a lawfully committed offender, into the Dawes County Jail and keep him until discharged by law.
Sierra had been arrested and charged with a Class II felony of first-degree sexual assault and Class IIIA felonies of false imprisonment and strangulation. According to an affidavit, Sierra allegedly strangled a 21-year-old Rapid City woman for a week — much of the time in Crawford — using his hands and Christmas lights, beating her to the point of unconsciousness, threatening to kill her and repeatedly molesting her.
Dailey said he did not do the intake because Sierra was injured and the jail didn’t have medical facilities, which could have led to liability issues for the county. The sheriff also explained that there were financial considerations were made, as any of Sierra’s incurred medical expenses would be the county’s responsibility.
Prosecuting attorney Corey O’Brien argued Dailey acted out of spite because of anger toward the Police Chief Tim Lordino and the command of the Nebraska State Patrol for not notifying him directly when Sierra was arrested. This was backed by recordings played during the trial in which Dailey states this dislike toward the other agencies. Dailey later said this anger might have influenced his decision to not accept Sierra, and that he could’ve booked the prisoner and later transferred him to another facility.
Outside of the trial, Lordino shared dispatch call recordings that show even though Dailey was not directly contacted, Dawes County deputies were made aware of the situation and given descriptions of the vehicles Sierra might be driving and where he had been staying. The first calls, Lordino said, were made within 30 minutes of officers arriving at hospital and speaking to the female victim.
If found guilty of misconduct, a Class II misdemeanor, Dailey faces penalties of a $1,000 fine, six months in jail, or both.