BEATRICE – One of the defendants in an August incident where shots were fired at an occupied home in Beatrice, has been sentenced to probation.
Colten Anderson of Firth, who will turn 19 Saturday…..will serve a five-year term of probation for possession of a deadly weapon during the commission of a felony. The conviction carried a potential sentence of up to four years in prison.

Gage County Attorney Roger Harris said the incident at a home along Lincoln Street in Beatrice was “a very dangerous situation.”

"This case involves a very dangerous situation involving young men with guns, reportedly under the impairment of drugs or alcohol. Quite frankly, one saving positive aspect of this, is by the grace of God, nobody was killed."

Harris said a plea agreement came about through a lot of negotiation, taking into account the victims in the case….the seriousness of the matter, the age and record of the defendant and a need for restitution. Anderson has been ordered to pay restitution of $1,075 to the victims….some of whom were in court, at Thursday’s sentencing hearing.

Early the morning of August 3rd, multiple shots were fired at the home occupied by several members of a family. Beatrice Police found sixteen spent 40-caliber rounds and six spent 20-gauge shotgun shells at the scene.  Gage County Public Defender, Lee Timan, represented Anderson. He acknowledged a probation term could cause a public outcry. He said his client has sincere remorse and deep regrets for the incident.

"He was not the primary actor in this case, he was following the lead of others. It was a very, very, very poor choice to follow the others who were involved. This is not something that Mr. Anderson had planned. From all accounts, it sounds like he didn't even plan on doing this, until they got to Beatrice. Nonetheless, he still made the choice to get out of the car to grab the shotgun and to fire it."

Anderson has agreed to testify against co-defendants in the case.  "I'd like to apologize to the family...I know there's a couple of members here today. I know there's no words that can make up for my actions that happened. But, at the end of the day, I am truly sorry. If I could take it back, I would. I never meant to hurt anyone like I did...and I ask that the court allows me to have a chance to prove to myself and everyone else, that I am not that person."

Anderson is employed full-time at a distribution center, in Waverly. Gage County District Judge Rick Schreiner said he was most bothered by the nature of the offense and the violence involved.

"This is terrifying for everybody that was on the other end of your actions....just absolutely terrifying."

Schreiner said Anderson’s prior criminal history consisted of only traffic offenses.  "People say a lot. I watch what they do, and believe me, people are going to be watching you. In life, it's not necessarily the mistakes that people make that define them. It's what they do afterwards. You're at that jumping off point that others have been at, as well....and it's going to be up to you to decide which way you go."

The length of the sentence was the maximum probation term allowed by law. The sentence includes waiverable jail time, GPS monitoring for 90 days, substance and mental health treatment, and an order for Anderson to obtain his G-E-D.

"You placed this community and this family in danger of serious injury, or death. So, these terms of probation are not going to be flexible."

Anderson initially faced charges of discharging a firearm near a vehicle or building and use of a firearm to commit a felony….both of which carried potential sentences of up to 50-years in prison.