Early Friday morning (10/14/16), the Yuma County Sheriff’s Office was notified of a shooting victim at the Yuma District Hospital Emergency Room. Justin Bixler, DOB 4/11/75, of Fairbury, NE, had a gunshot wound to his hand. After several interviews and other information gathering efforts, a bolo (be on the lookout) message was entered into the state crime computer system indicating the Sheriff’s Office was looking for a black Chevy Equinox being driven by Johnny Payne, DOB 4/11/86, of Fairbury, NE.
Midmorning that same day, Colorado State Patrol located the vehicle and Payne at the swimming pool in Yuma. Sheriff’s office personnel arrived on scene and took Payne into custody.
The vehicle was seized as evidence and taken to the Yuma County Sheriff’s Office where a search warrant for it was written and executed. Evidence of the shooting was found along with just under an ounce of suspected methamphetamine and a small amount of marijuana in the vehicle.
Several more interviews and information gathering efforts were pursued late into Friday night that resulted in a belief that the shooting occurred on a county road possibly a couple of miles north of Yuma. There was also probable cause for a search warrant at 541 W. Hoag in Yuma. With the assistance of Yuma Police Department personnel, the warrant was executed at that residence just after 3:00 AM Saturday morning. Joshua Hansen, DOB 9/17/86, was taken into custody during the execution of the warrant.
The search warrant of the residence yielded important evidence for the shooting case as well as an extremely large amount of suspected methamphetamine (approximately 7 pounds), cocaine (approximately 3 ounces), marijuana and marijuana concentrates in various forms (approximately 51 pounds), ecstasy, suspected synthetic drugs, several prescription drugs, firearms and other illegal weapons, and stolen antiques from a reported burglary earlier in the summer. The methamphetamine alone has a street value of nearly $320,000.
Johnny Payne was booked into the jail on the following charges: First degree Assault (F5), Possession of Schedule II Controlled Substance (DF4), Illegal Discharge of a Firearm (F5), Prohibited Use of a Firearm (M2), Possession of a Weapon by Previous Offender (F6), Menacing (F5)
Joshua Hansen was booking into the Yuma County Jail on the following charges: Possession of a dangerous weapon (F5) X2, Possession of Schedule II Controlled Substance with intent to distribute (DF1), Possession of Schedule II Controlled Substance with intent to distribute (DF2), Possession of Schedule I Controlled Substance (DF3), Possession of Schedule II Controlled Substance (DF4), Possession of Marijuana with intent to distribute (DF1), Extraction of Marijuana Concentrate (DF2), Possession of a Weapon by a Previous Offender (F6), Theft (F6), Possession of an Illegal weapon (M1), Special Offences (DF1), Possession of Drug Paraphernalia with intent to distribute (DM2), Possession of Drug Paraphernalia (DPO)
The investigation continues into the involvement of additional parties, locations, and vehicles.
Sheriff Chad Day, “I am not only very proud of the professionalism and hard work displayed in the work of this office on this case, but it is worth noting that during this intense and time consuming investigation, Sheriff’s Patrol Deputies also received and handled reports of 7 burglaries, 5 criminal mischief cases, 2 mental health transport orders, an additional inmate transport, a theft case, 3 citizen assists, 5 loose livestock calls, 2 VIN inspections, 2 Restraining order violations, a suicidal person, and 3 fire investigations. All of this in three and a half days. There is certainly a lot of work left to do, but I’m so pleased with the effort and result.
As always, District Attorney Brittny Lewton was a very helpful and valuable resource during this long day, and was consulted throughout. She also commented, “The Yuma County Sheriff’s Office handled this case in a way that you would expect a large metro agency to handle it with unlimited resources. There were lots of moving parts that all had to be handled very particularly in order for this to work as smoothly as it did.”
Sheriff Day would like to encourage anyone with information about illegal drug use or distribution to contact the Sheriff’s Office with that information. The easiest way to pass information along is to call the Sheriff’s Office Dispatch at 332-4805 where you will be asked to leave contact information for a deputy to call you back, submit a “crime tip” on our website (yumacountysheriff.net), message us on our Facebook page (Yuma County Sheriff), or come into the office.