Tanner Danielson beat, tortured, branded man over drugs

Tanner Danielson (Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office)

A 31-year-old man in Nebraska will spend several decades behind bars for kidnapping and torturing a man he believed had robbed him, using a blowtorch to brand him with the word “thief” before leaving him tied up to die in a rural country area.

Lancaster County District Court Judge Susan I. Strong on Wednesday ordered Tanner Danielson to serve a sentence of 70 to 90 years in prison, court records reviewed by Law&Crime show.

Danielson — who also forcibly raped a woman who had been with the man he tortured — pleaded no contest in June to one count of attempted kidnapping and one count of first-degree sexual assault. Judge Strong ordered Danielson to serve 40 to 50 years on the first count and 30 to 40 years on the second count, with the two sentences running concurrently. She also credited him with 195 days already served.

According to the sentencing order, Danielson will first be eligible for parole after serving at least 35 years in prison.

Danielson’s co-defendant, 27-year-old Austin Widhalm, pleaded no contest last month to one count of second-degree assault and one count of first-degree false imprisonment.

During the sentencing hearing, Judge Strong addressed Danielson, telling him his actions amounted to “one of the most heinous factual scenarios” she had ever encountered, Lincoln, Nebraska, ABC affiliate KLKN reported.

At about 8:30 a.m. on July 29, police said the Gage County Sheriff’s Office contacted the department regarding a man found “bound and walking down a rural road with obvious injuries.” The man — later identified as the 26-year-old torture victim — told investigators he had been kidnapped in Lincoln, Nebraska, and taken to an unknown location in Gage County. Investigators said they also learned that a woman with the man had also been kidnapped, beaten, and sexually assaulted.

Tanner Danielson beat, tortured, branded man over drugs

Leave a Comment