ELKO – An Elko man received up to 12 years in prison Monday for his part in kidnapping two women last summer and sparking a manhunt through Spring Creek.
John Glen Hebel, 22, was one of three suspects involved in the scheme that started in the southside area of Elko and ended up in Spring Creek when the women were released on Boyd-Kennedy Road and discovered by Elko County Sheriff’s deputies, according to court records.
The incident led to a manhunt for the suspects and a high-speed chance by a Nevada Highway Patrol trooper that was discontinued due to concerns for public safety. The suspects’ vehicle was later found abandoned on Pleasant Valley Road.
Further complicating the manhunt that evening was the Owl Creek wildfire that broke out nearby and burned about a thousand acres at the base of the Ruby Mountains. The cause of the fire is still unknown.
Hebel was arrested on Jan. 22 and charged with multiple counts related to the incident, including robbery with the use of a deadly weapon, assault with a deadly weapon, coercion and destroying evidence in the commission of a felony.
Matthew Kennah, 36, of Spring Creek was arrested May 1 on one count of kidnapping in the first degree, robbery with a deadly weapon, and two counts of coercion with force or threat of force.
A third suspect has not been arrested by police.
On April 22, Hebel pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit kidnapping in the first degree; one count of assault with a deadly weapon, and one count of principal to eluding a police officer, all category “B” felonies, in a plea agreement that dropped robbery and firearms charges along with kidnapping in the first degree, which is a category “A” felony.
Hebel was sentenced by District Judge Nancy Porter on counts one and two to 2-6 years in prison, to be served consecutively. For count three, Hebel was sentenced to one to two years in prison to be served concurrently with counts one and two. He was given credit for 237 days served in Elko County Jail.
Deputy District Attorney Mark Mills asked Porter for a “severe” sentence due to the dangers posed to the women and the community on that day.
“The case involved the use of firearms … there was a high-speed chase as well,” Mills said. “The facts of this case are pretty outrageous.”
According to court documents, the events stemmed over the suspected theft of $600 from the boyfriend of one of the men. He thought she and her friend were involved and expressed his suspicions to Hebel.
Mills also pointed to Hebel’s record within the past year that included a conviction in Elko Justice Court in May for driving under the influence, reckless driving and failure to stop at the scene of an accident.
Additionally, Hebel was convicted in October of violating the Uniform Controlled Substance Act and receiving or possessing stolen goods. He was given a suspended sentence of 68 months in prison and placed on probation for five years. In March, his probation was revoked.
Attorney Sherburne Macfarlan asked for a lighter sentence of 12 to 32 months in prison on each count to be served concurrently by his client, explaining that Hebel was an example of what happens when someone becomes addicted to controlled substances at a young age.
“Unfortunately, that addiction grabbed a hold of him and would not let go,” Macfarlan said. “He’s going to prison, and I just hope that he is able to … get help for his addiction, because he understands that he is just sliding down the drain.”
Hebel read a prepared statement to the court.
“I’m taking full responsibility for my actions,” he said. “I know that what I caused was wrong. I am truly sorry for my actions. I would like to apologize to the people involved and the families for all the trouble I caused.”
“I will be taking the time I will receive from my actions as a lesson and get help for my drug addiction,” Hebel continued.
Before rendering her sentence, Porter said she believed Hebel seemed to understand the fact that drugs have had a negative impact on his life based on what he wrote in the pre-sentence report, but that his actions were putting the community in danger.
“You committed this crime when you were on probation only for a matter of days, and many people were put at risk by your behavior,” Porter said. “It is amazing nobody was killed.”
“I do think you are genuinely remorseful, but this crime was very dangerous,” Porter said.
“It is amazing nobody was killed.” — District Judge Nancy Porter