Nebraska prosecutors this week officially announced they would seek the death penalty for a man accused of shooting at a Sonic Drive-In restaurant, killing two employees and injuring two others in an unprovoked attack in November 2020. District Attorney Sarpy Lee Polikov announced on Monday the filing of upgraded first-degree murder charges against Roberto Carlos Silva Jr. that would allow prosecutors to pursue the death penalty, Omaha CBS affiliate KMTV-TV report.
At an afternoon press conference, Polikov explained that his office had dismissed the nine charges initially filed in the state district court and dismissed the charges in district court. The charges dismissed include allegations that the murder included multiple aggravating factors that, if convicted, would allow the state to execute Silva.
“I took these procedural steps today because they are necessary when seeking a decision in a death sentence,” Polikov said. “The decision is based on facts identified by the investigation — which happens all the time — as well as new information we received several months after the case was first filed.”
He added that the new information from investigators was “consistent with the aggravating circumstances needed to seek the death penalty.”
Polikov explained that after reflecting on the charges in district court, prosecutors will send a “aggravation notice” outlining the reasons why Silva’s alleged actions constitute a crime. evil. A panel of three judges or a jury would be empowered to hear arguments and decide whether the necessary aggravating circumstances for the death penalty have been met. If Silva is convicted, a panel of three judges will decide whether the death penalty should be given in his particular case.
Polikov said that it was the first time in his 22 years as District Attorney that he had decided to seek the death penalty, noting that “the decision to file is not taken lightly.”
“I will tell you that there are nine circumstances that are covered by the law as aggravating circumstances and the evidence we have we have not presented to the court so I do not want to go into detail as to why. we think some nine aggravating circumstances might apply to this case,” he said.
In addition to the charges that were dismissed, prosecutors have also filed additional charges of first-degree murder and felony use of a firearm for Silva’s alleged attempts to kill each person in the family. number three of Sonic’s employees, who were able to flee the store unscathed.
Silva performed country title when he allegedly drove a rented U-Haul truck to the driver’s window at Sonic located in the 1300 block of Cornhusker Road on November 21, 2020 and began plunging into the fast food restaurant. The attack caused the employee to leave Nathan Pastrana22 and Ryan Helbert, 28 years old, died. Workers Zoey Lujan18 and Kenneth Gerner, 25 years old, both suffered gunshot wounds but survived. Prosecutors also accused Silva of throwing “incendiary devices” at the restaurant before fleeing the scene. He allegedly set fire to the U-Haul truck before his arrest.
He made headlines across the country after being arrested not only for the heinous nature of the alleged crime, but also because he created the post-shot with a grin that prompted some shops to call he is”Smile Shooter. ”
The nine charges Silva has previously faced include two counts of first-degree murder and one count of first-degree arson.
Since his arrest, Polikov noted that Silva has also been charged with felony attempted escape and misdemeanor assault stemming from an incident that occurred in October 2021 at the Sarpy County Jail, where he was arrested. allegedly threw a cup filled with his own feces and urine at the repair workers.
Officials have yet to set a date for Silva’s trial.
See Polikov’s press conference below.
[image via Sarpy County Jail]
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https://lawandcrime.com/crime/prosecutors-seek-death-penalty-against-smiling-shooter-accused-of-ambushing-employees-at-a-sonic-drive-in-killing-two/ Sonic Shooter Roberto Carlos Silva Jr. Facing the Death Penalty