Jury hung on most charges in Fruitvale shooting trial
A Mesa County jury was unable to reach verdicts on most of the charges in the trial of a man accused of shooting five people at a party in December 2009.
Joshua Anton, 21, was convicted on a pair of misdemeanors — prohibited use of a weapon and carrying a concealed weapon — in verdicts which were read aloud this afternoon in District Judge Brian Flynn’s courtroom. The jury, which started deliberations on May 12, could not agree on the most serious charges in the case, including first-degree assault, and second-degree assault.
The District Attorney’s office moved to try the case yet again, now scheduled to start Aug. 15 for two weeks.
Anton had pleaded not guilty in the shooting of five people, which happened after a fight at a late-night party at 2984 Krista St., in Fruitvale on Dec. 13, 2009. Anton’s attorneys argued he shot in self-defense after several men, with whom he had fought earlier at the party, tried to force their way back into the home’s front door.
Prosecutors said Anton was standing in the living room when he fired four shots from a .40-caliber handgun. One of the rounds passed completely through one victim. Three of the five wounded men suffered serious bodily injuries, doctors said.
Judge Flynn in August rejected a plea agreement which called for Anton to be placed on probation in exchange for a guilty plea to felony menacing. The judge criticized the agreement as too lenient, adding the terms did not allow him to sentence Anton to jail or any other forms of punishment.
Read the full story in Wednesday’s Daily Sentinel.