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Court upholds Omaha man’s murder conviction

- Associated Press - Friday, April 4, 2014

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - The Nebraska Supreme Court on Friday upheld the murder conviction of a man serving life in prison for killing his former roommate in Omaha.

The court rejected Michael Juranek's arguments that his statements to police after the fatal stabbing should have been inadmissible in court.

Juranek, now 64, was found guilty of first-degree murder for fatally stabbing 52-year-old Jimmy McBride on Sept. 14, 2011, in south Omaha. Officers say Juranek and McBride had gotten into a fight. The men shared an Omaha house for a time, but were evicted and were living on the streets.

Court records say an Omaha police officer spotted Juranek shortly after the stabbing and shouted to get his attention, but didn't pull in front of him or order him to stop. Juranek then turned around and said, "He threatened me so I struck him," according to the opinion.

The office testified that Juranek talked to himself while seated in the back of the police cruiser, saying that he "stuck him once" and wanted to kill him, according to the opinion. When police asked later whether he was willing to share information, Juranek admitted on a recording that he stabbed McBride and said "I'm guilty."

Juranek argued in court that the statements were inadmissible because they were made before police had read him his rights. A district court judge overruled his motion to suppress the statements, concluding that the detective's question at the start of the interview wasn't intended to elicit a confession, but to gauge whether Juranek was willing to talk.

"Ultimately, we conclude that there was sufficient evidence to find Juranek guilty, and we affirm his conviction and sentences," the court said in its opinion.

Juranek also was convicted of a felony weapons charge. He is serving his sentence at the Tecumseh State Correctional Institution in southeast Nebraska.

In a statement Friday, Attorney General Jon Bruning praised the decision.

"This man chased down Jimmy McBride and stabbed him to death in the middle of the street," Bruning said. "Mr. Juranek deserves to spend the rest of his life behind bars."

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