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Man charged in NHP Sgt. killing, faces additional charges

The man arrested in the killing of a Nevada Highway Patrol officer is facing additional charges, according to the Nye County District Attorney’s Office.

As stated in a news release on Wednesday, May 20, District Attorney Chris Arabia said his office has charged John Dabritz with four felony counts relating to the unlawful possession of explosive or incendiary devices.

Dabritz is also potentially facing the death penalty in White Pine County for the murder of Nevada Highway Patrol Sergeant Ben Jenkins on March 27, 2020.

“The killing of Sergeant Ben Jenkins was an unimaginably horrible thing and we are confident that the White Pine County DA’s office will continue to do an excellent job with that case,” Arabia said. “Still, these charges in Nye County are serious and we have an obligation to take appropriate action against someone who would flout the law and the unthinkable matter that he has.”

The release went on to state that just prior to the killing of Jenkins, authorities discovered that Dabritz possessed three illegal explosive devices, along with a fourth device, which was detonated by gunshot fire from a distance, at Dabritz’s residence in Tybo, Nevada, according to the criminal complaint.

In Nye County, Dabritz faces three counts of unlawful possession of a component of an explosive or incendiary device with intent to manufacture an explosive or incendiary device, which are category “B” felonies.

The maximum penalty for each of the three counts is one to six years imprisonment and a $5,000 fine.

Dabritz, according to the release, also faces one count of unlawful possession of an explosive or incendiary device in or near certain public or private areas, which is a category “D” felony.

The maximum penalty for that count is one to four years imprisonment and a $5,000 fine.

During the investigation of Dabritz, authorities discovered information leading to Kelvin Laird, who was charged with carrying concealed weapons, a category “C” felony with maximums of one to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

On March 27, at approximately 5:54 a.m., Sgt. Jenkins stopped to check on Dabritz, whose vehicle was parked along a remote stretch of U.S. 93, according to authorities.

Shortly thereafter, Dabritz shot Jenkins, and stripped him of his uniform and firearm, leading to a four-hour manhunt involving at least five Nevada law enforcement agencies and the Utah Highway Patrol.

Dabritz was arrested near Cherry Creek, Nevada roughly 18 miles south from the scene of the shooting.

“Because Dabritz is facing a possible death penalty prosecution in White Pine County, it is unknown at this time when he will appear in Tonopah Justice Court,” the release stated.

Contact reporter Selwyn Harris at sharris@pvtimes.com. On Twitter: @pvtimes

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