As previously agreed to, Roberto Nieto, 31, has been sentenced to three years in prison in conjunction with a shooting that took place on the residential streets of Delta in June 2014.
At about 7 a.m. June 22, Nieto pointed a handgun at an acquaintance who was walking on Grand Avenue. Nieto, who was driving a Kia down the street, leaned across his passenger and fired three shots. None hit the victim, but two were recovered from a home at a height that confirmed they were fired not in the air, but at the height of the victim's head.
The victim quickly identified Nieto as the shooter.
In a written statement to the court, the victim said he hoped the conviction will benefit Nieto, particularly as his actions are related to drugs and gang activity. Judge Steven Schultz encouraged Nieto to use the time to address substance abuse issues. "I strongly encourage you to take advantage of the programs in prison to get your life back on track," Judge Schultz admonished.
Sentencing took place in the district courtroom Monday, July 13. "I know I messed up and I'm prepared to suffer the consequences," Nieto told Judge Schultz.
Nieto is already serving a three-year Department of Corrections sentence for a conviction of felony menacing in Jefferson County. The sentence levied by Judge Schultz will be tacked on to the end. Additional charges pending in Montrose and Delta counties were swept into the sentenced handed down by Judge Schultz.
Although public defender Daniel Lavrisha said the six-year sentence is "pretty significant," both he and his client agreed to the terms of the plea agreement, which includes two years of mandatory parole.
A collaborative effort between the Delta County Sheriff's Office and municipal law enforcement agencies throughout Delta County has resulted in a proposal for a 1 percent sales tax increase to fund public safety. A PowerPoint presentation titled "Back the Badge" is starting to make the rounds at city/town council meetings, service club luncheons and other events.