A 47 year old Mitchell man convicted of possession of methamphetamine and jury tampering was sentenced to prison today.
Joseph Thortsen was sentenced by Scotts Bluff County District Judge Andrea Miller to a year in prison for the meth possession count and another 18 months in prison for jury tampering.
The jury tampering charge involved activity during the Travis Buechler drug distribution trial in September where Thortsen was supposed to be a witness for Buechler and then exercised his 5th amendment right not to testify.
Court documents say six jurors told Sheriff’s Investigator Matt Holcomb a man identified as Thortsen on surveillance video handed them a pamphlet as they were leaving the courthouse September 11th. The pamphlet told the jurors to “say no to government tyranny and refuse to convict” Buechler.
The documents say Thortsen met with Buechler and his wife outside the courthouse that evening and the two men enthusiastically slapped each other’s hands before leaving the parking lot.
Buechler was eventually convicted and sentenced to ten to twenty years in prison .