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Lincoln man goes to prison in case where woman left note to ‘call 911’ at convenience store

By Lori Pilger

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    LINCOLN, Nebraska (Lincoln Journal Star) — A 29-year-old Lincoln man was sent to prison Monday for assaulting and falsely imprisoning a woman who got away after leaving a message to call 911 on toilet paper in a convenience store bathroom last April.

Britton Ayres declined to say anything during his sentencing hearing.

Deputy Lancaster County Public Defender Todd Molvar said Ayres acknowledged he’d made some bad decisions and felt remorse, but believed that things had been exaggerated.

“I have no doubt that she (the victim) was afraid during this incident; however, Mr. Ayres I don’t believe knew the extent to which she was afraid,” he said.

The woman told police she tried to let Ayres think everything was fine. But it’s clear things weren’t, Molvar said.

Police said that at about 10:30 p.m. April 5, an employee at Roc’s Speedee Mart at 27th and South streets found a note on the floor of the women’s bathroom that had a license plate number on it and said “call 911.”

Concerned, the clerk did. And officers started looking for a Chevy Trailblazer, which they spotted 4 miles away. But Ayres fled.

Police found the 30-year-old woman at 12:26 a.m. after she forced her way out of the SUV near 33rd Street and Sheridan Boulevard, flagged down a driver and used his phone to call 911.

She told police Ayres had shown up at her apartment that day, tied her up and covered her mouth after she freed a hand to call 911.

Later that night, she left the note. She said Ayres punched her and grabbed her neck when he heard on a police scanner that police were looking for the SUV.

The incident led LPD to add a further delay to its publicly available police dispatch channels.

Ayres later pleaded no contest to assault by strangulation and false imprisonment, both felonies, and third-degree assault and fleeing to avoid arrest, misdemeanors.

Deputy Lancaster County Attorney Amy Goodro said Ayres was on probation when the incident occurred and anything less than a significant period of imprisonment would depreciate the nature of the offense and send the wrong message to the community.

Ayres was looking at a maximum of eight years under the plea agreement.

Lancaster County District Judge Robert Otte sentenced him to five years, plus a year and a half of post-release supervision, saying Ayres had built a “resume” of assaults, domestic assault and violating the law.

“These are just very serious charges and not to be taken lightly,” Otte said.

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