Trial starts for man accused of shooting five
Fourteen months after five people were shot at a Fruitvale home, the man suspected of pulling the trigger is taking the case to trial.
Jury selection started Monday at the Mesa County Justice Center in the case of 21-year-old Joshua Anton, who is charged with multiple counts of first-degree assault, second-degree assault in addition to prohibited use of a weapon and carrying a concealed weapon.
Anton has 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 has claimed 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.
A doctor concluded three of the five wounded men suffered serious bodily injuries.
District Judge Brian 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.
Prosecutors had cited unspecified “problems” with witnesses in the case in offering the plea agreement.
The trial is scheduled through May 11 in Flynn’s courtroom.