NEBRASKA CITY – District Judge Julie Smith has ruled against prosecutors’ plan to link the 2011 death of hundred of livestock at John Maahs’ Unadilla farm to his current charges.
The judge said the state is barred from presenting the evidence of the 2011 case, when as many as 1,000 pigs were found dead in large farrowing houses.
Maahs was arrested again last May and charged with 10 counts of livestock neglect. Officers found more than 40 dead and decaying pigs and 15 dead goats.
The judge said prosecutors can only present evidence of the 2011 case to a jury, if Maahs claims there was some sort of mistake or accident that led to the dead animals last spring.
In the 2011 case, Maahs explained the dead animals by saying he had lost interest in caring for the animals and did not to do the work.
In the current case, deputies noted that Maahs had food on hand, but did not give it the animals. Many pigs had apparently survived by eating the bodies of the pigs that had died.
Investigators say Maahs had also ordered expensive medicines and had them properly stored and available, but did not administer them.
Authorities were led to Maahs’ farm this spring when a lone goat had escaped and was seen near Highway 2.
When sheriff’s deputies arrived to what they described as a “horrific scene” of starvation and neglect, Maahs showed up pulling a trailer with more feeder pigs.