Three men sentenced in connection w/the murder of a C. Bluffs man


August 14th, 2019 by Ric Hanson

(KNOD – Harlan) Three men were sentenced Monday and Tuesday in connection with the January murder of 38-year-old Council Bluffs man Adam Angeroth. 20 year old Nicholas Haner of Harlan, 21 year old Liam Stec of Omaha and 25 year old Ryan McDonald of Glenwood were each sentenced to 50 years in prison by Fourth Judicial District Judge Michael Hooper, after pleading guilty to second-degree murder charges. Haner and Stec were sentenced Tuesday, while McDonald appeared in court Monday.

Angeroth was found dead in his apartment at 35 N. First Street on Jan. 24. No one had seen him for several days. An autopsy revealed signs of blunt force trauma and knife wounds to Angeroth’s body. According to court records, Haner thought that Angeroth had him arrested on Jan. 18, which, according to Pottawattamie County District Attorney Matt Wilber, was unfounded. The trio was initially charged with first-degree murder, a Class A felony that is punishable by a mandatory sentence of life in prison, but the charges were amended to accommodate plea deals that the state, the defendants and the victim’s family were all amenable to, according to Wilber.

Wilber, along with investigators who worked the case, believed that Haner was the ringleader of the group. The fact that Haner received the same sentence as his co-defendants didn’t sit well with Wilber. All three men are required to serve at least 70 percent of the 50-year terms — a minimum of 35 years — before they will be eligible for release or parole. The fourth and final defendant in the case is Xavier Smith-Catchings, of Omaha. Smith-Catchings was 15 at the time the murder occurred, and is now 16. He will be tried as an adult. Wilber said he expects a resolution to that case to be forthcoming, but is unsure when.