Man gets 3 years for shootings

With time served, man who wounded 5 may be out within months

Joshua Anton

A Grand Junction man will serve less than half of a three-year prison sentence handed down Thursday in connection with the shooting of five people in 2009.

Joshua Anton, 21, was sentenced by District Judge Brian Flynn to three years in prison consistent with a plea agreement with the Mesa County District Attorney’s Office in which Anton pleaded guilty to single count of menacing with a deadly weapon. Anton was credited with serving 572 days at the Mesa County Jail since his arrest in the Dec. 13, 2009, shooting of five people during a party at a Fruitvale home.

Factoring additional credits awarded by the Colorado Department of Corrections, Anton could be released in a matter of months and may never be sent to a permanent prison facility, Chief Deputy District Attorney Trish Mahre said.

Anton must serve two years of parole upon his release.

“I just kind of wanted to move on with my life,” Anton told the judge, when Anton was asked why he was accepting the deal.

None of the five men who were shot by Anton were in attendance Thursday.

Mahre told the judge several of the victims did not return the DA’s phone calls after a Mesa County jury on May 18 announced it was hung on 29 charges in Anton’s trial, including the most serious charges of first- and second-degree assault. Anton was convicted on two misdemeanor weapons charges.

Prosecutors sought to try the case again, but instead struck a plea agreement in June.

Mahre on Thursday said the agreement “holds him responsible,” in addition to imposing a significant restitution demand. Flynn ordered Anton pay $40,830 to the five wounded men.

Anton’s attorneys argued during the May trial their client shot the five men in self-defense after the five tried to re-enter the front door of a home. Several had been involved in a fight with Anton earlier, they argued. Anton shot four times using a .40-caliber handgun he’d kept in his pants.

“It is the people’s position that was not a reasonable degree of force to respond to that type of threat,” Mahre told the judge.


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