Judge rejects plea deal in shooting of five people
District Judge Brian Flynn this morning rejected a plea agreement in the case of a man charged with shooting five people at a party, saying in a written order that attorneys have crafted a deal that’s too soft.
“The terms of the plea agreement do not allow the court to impose a sentence that will adequately protect the public,” Flynn wrote in an order, adding the terms “do not serve to develop respect for the law.”
Joshua Anton, 21, pleaded guilty last week to a lone count of felony menacing in a deal in which the District Attorney’s Office agreed to place Anton on probation. Under the agreement, Flynn could not impose any incarceration as part of the probation.
“Not even weekend detention or electronic home monitoring can be imposed,” Flynn’s order reads.
The judge took roughly five minutes to type out a written order after hearing arguments during Anton’s sentencing hearing this morning.
“Notably,” the judge wrote, “the District Attorney has still today represented that all of the charges can be proved beyond a reasonable doubt and that the defendant’s claims of self defense can be disproved beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Anton faced a potential sentence of decades in prison if convicted of the original 18 charges filed in the case, including first-degree assault, second-degree assault, prohibited use of a weapon, in addition to several sentence-enhancing crime of violence charges.
Chief Deputy District Attorney Trish Mahre called the proposed agreement “not a perfect result,” but a compromise based on “problems” with evidence in the case. Anton has claimed he fired in self defense after several people, who earlier were involved in a confrontation with Anton, allegedly tried to force their way into a home toward the end of an underage party at 2984 Krista St. in Fruitvale last December.
Prosecutors believe Anton was standing in the living room of the home when he fired four shots from a .40 caliber handgun, striking five people, with one round passing completely through one victim. The judge noted in his order that doctors found three of the five people wounded suffered what doctors considered to be serious bodily injury.
Both sides are now expected back in court Sept. 1.
Read the full story in Thursday’s Daily Sentinel.