After mistrial, man takes deal in shooting case

A Grand Junction man will avoid a second jury trial in the 2009 shooting of five people, according to court records.

Joshua Anton, 21, signed a plea agreement that calls for him to plead guilty to a single count of menacing with a deadly weapon, for which he could receive a maximum sentence of three years in prison.

The agreement was filed Wednesday, and District Judge Brian Flynn wrote in an order Thursday he reluctantly will accept it.

“Although the court has many of the same concerns that it had with regard to the first plea agreement, the court finds that it would be an abuse of the court’s discretion in this case to reject the currently proposed plea agreement ...,” Flynn wrote in his order.

Flynn in August criticized and threw out a plea agreement in which prosecutors aimed to place Anton on probation in exchange for him pleading guilty to felony menacing. The judge said the deal was too lenient and did not allow him to impose jail, prison or any other form of incarceration.

In a two-week trial, a jury announced May 18 that it was deadlocked on 29 charges, including the most serious allegations of first- and second-degree assault.  They instead convicted him on a pair of misdemeanors, prohibited use of a weapon and carrying a concealed weapon. The case was scheduled for trial Aug. 15 on remaining counts.

With this week’s deal, all other charges will be dropped.

Anton’s attorneys had argued Anton shot five people in self-defense during a 2009 party in Fruitvale. The men who were shot were trying to force entry after leaving the home following a fight involving Anton, the defense said. Anton fired four shots from a .40-caliber handgun.

His plea and sentencing hearing is scheduled July 7.


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