Jake J. Gonzalez, 18, of Lincoln, appeared in Jefferson County District Court on Thursday, September 2, in the custody of the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office. He is accused of the homicide of a two-year-old child in Fairbury. This is the first time Gonzalez has appeared in person in court since his arrest in this matter. All prior court appearances have been via webcam from the Seward County Detention Center.\nVicky Johnson was the presiding judge.\nAccording to a statement from the Jefferson County Sheriff\u2019s Office, deputies were called to an apartment building at the 700 block of J Street in Fairbury for a welfare check on a female subject living at the residence. Upon arrival, Deputies spoke with individuals living at the residence. The female resident stated that she needed an ambulance for her two-year old child. Deputies found the two-year old child in an apartment closet, unresponsive and showing severe injuries.\nThe child was transported to Jefferson Community Health and Life by County Ambulance District #33. From there the child was flown via helicopter to Children\u2019s Hospital in Omaha, where he later succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced dead. According to the Sheriff's Office, \u201cUpon further investigation, it was suspected Gonzalez caused these injuries to the child.\u201d\nWitnesses\nThe State is represented by Special Deputy Jefferson County Attorney William P. Tangeman, who filed two motions on August 31. A list of 35 witnesses was provided to the court and the State filed a motion to endorse witnesses, meaning those named on the list may be called to testify at trial. There was no objection by the defense and the motion was granted.\nAccused of Witness Tampering\nThe second motion was for a hearing to determine the admissibility of evidence concerning other crime or wrongdoings, known as 27-404, after the Nebraska Statute that governs what evidence is and is not admissible regarding character evidence. According to court filings, the State intends to offer evidence that Gonzalez attempted to persuade a witness, \u201cto testify or inform falsely, or to withhold testimony or information in the instant case in order to assist the Defendant in refuting the criminal charges against him.\u201d\nThe Prosecution had previously accused the defendant of possible witness tampering in court on April 8 of this year, when Tangeman told Judge Johnson, \u201cWhile the defendant has been incarcerated, he has methodically attempted to manipulate and tamper with witnesses over the telephone, attempting to get witnesses to not testify, or to not give statements in this case, in order that he can beat the charges in this case. And these efforts have happened over the telephone, the recorded phone calls.\u201d\nJudge Johnson set a hearing for Thursday, September 16.\nUpcoming Trial\nThe defendant is represented by Kelly S. Breen of the Nebraska Commission on Public Advocacy, who has indicated his client is unwilling to waive his right to a speedy trial. The Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees a criminal defendant the right to a speedy trial by an \u201cimpartial jury.\u201d This means that a criminal defendant must be brought to trial for his or her alleged crimes within a reasonably short time after arrest.\nThe trial is set for October 18 to 29, 2021.\nJudge Johnson asked Tangeman, \u201cIs the State preparing for trial or for a plea?\u201d\nTangeman responded, \u201cYour Honor, I just spoke with Mr. Breen, I think we're preparing for trial. And I think both sides are on schedule to go as currently scheduled for October 18.\u201d\nOne issue that was raised was sequestration of the jury or witnesses. No motions have been filed yet but Judge Johnson said, \u201cWell, I would ask you to think about it because in these small towns that becomes an issue. We don't have a lot of places to put juries when they're deliberating.\u201d\nOther Charges\nIn a separate case, Gonzalez was arrested May 18, 2020, for allegedly shooting a Fairbury man, Lance Powers, who reportedly suffered five gunshot wounds. Powers was hospitalized, treated and eventually released. Gonzalez was free on a $250,000 (10 percent) bond when he was arrested for the homicide. The trial for the shooting case is set for the same dates as the homicide trial.\nGonzalez remains in custody at this time, housed at the Seward County Detention Center. His bond is currently set at $15 million. The bond set was a cash bond, meaning the defendant will have to put up the full amount, not just 10 percent.