Man who fatally stabbed woman on New Year's Eve gets life in prison

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LINCOLN, Neb. -- A 22-year-old Lincoln man has been sentenced to life in prison for fatally stabbing the mother of his children on New Year’s Eve.

Neland Gray Jr. pleaded no contest to charges of first-degree murder on Oct. 1.

On Tuesday, Gray Jr. was sentenced to life in prison for killing Dijah Ybarra, the mother of his children on Dec. 31, 2018.

Gray Jr. was also given 25-35 years for charges of using a deadly weapon to commit a felony.

According to a probable cause affidavit, officers were sent to 1930 Montclair Drive around 7 p.m. on Dec. 31, 2018, on a report of a female lying in the driveway.

According to the affidavit, officers found Ybarra’s body lying in the driveway with “15 puncture wounds.”

She was transported to the hospital where she died a short time later.

After Ybarra was transported, officers started canvassing the area. The affidavit states they talked to a witness who said they heard a female screaming for 10-15 seconds, and came outside to see a dark-colored sedan leave westbound on Montclair Drive.

Another witness said they saw a male repeatedly attacking a woman before leaving the area.

According to the court records, a family member of Gray Jr. said that he and Ybarra’s relationship was “toxic,” and that he had “constantly been engaged in messaging through social media insults with Ybarra and her new love interest.”

The documents state Gray Jr. was located and eventually brought to LPD headquarters, where he told officers that earlier in the night, he had grabbed a steak knife to protect himself from Ybarra’s new love interest.

The court documents state that Ybarra dropped her children off at a frequent babysitter's house around 7 p.m. on New Year's Eve, and told the person Gray Jr. was waiting in the vehicle outside. She dropped the children off and left, and the first call came into police nine minutes later.

Court documents state Gray Jr. began assaulting and stabbing Ybarra, eventually leaving her on the street and driving away in her Chevy Impala.

Ybarra's two children were not present at the time of the crime.

Lincoln Police Chief Jeff Bliemeister said officers have been called for domestic problems between Ybarra and Gray Jr. in the past, and there has been at least one previous assault by Gray Jr. on Ybarra.
Police said Gray Jr. was convicted of that assault.