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Death Penalty Trial: Roberto Silva Jr. Pleads Guilty in 2020 NE Slaying of Ryan Helbert and Nathan Pastrana
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Thread: Death Penalty Trial: Roberto Silva Jr. Pleads Guilty in 2020 NE Slaying of Ryan Helbert and Nathan Pastrana

  1. #1
    Administrator Helen's Avatar
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    Death Penalty Trial: Roberto Silva Jr. Pleads Guilty in 2020 NE Slaying of Ryan Helbert and Nathan Pastrana


    Nathan Pastrana and Ryan Helbert





    November 22, 2020

    Bellevue Sonic shooter denied bond, facing more charges

    By 3newsnow.com

    OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Bellevue Police confirmed two people are dead after a shooting at a Sonic Drive-In Saturday night.

    During a press conference Sunday evening, Bellevue Police Lt. Andy Jashinske shed light on the events of the shooting and released the names of the four victims.

    Police also shared body camera footage of the moment the suspect, Roberto Silva Jr., was taken into custody.

    The deceased are Nathan Pastrana, 22, and Ryan Helbert, 28. The other two victims, ages 18 and 25, are still hospitalized for gunshot wounds.

    Silva was booked into the Sarpy County Jail early Sunday morning for two counts of first-degree murder and first-degree arson. A bond has not yet been set.

    According to the Bellevue Police Department, two other people were hurt in the shooting. They were taken to the University of Nebraska Medical Center in unknown condition.

    A U-Haul truck in the parking lot was set ablaze at some point during the incident, and Silva is accused of starting the fire.

    Silva bonded out of jail on Nov. 20 following his arrest on allegations of identity theft at the same Sonic Drive-in on Nov. 18.

    According to an affidavit, Silva reportedly used the Sonic app of another person to order $57 worth of food, including a Queso burger, four quarter-pound hamburgers, six quarter-pound double burgers, and 12 corndogs.

    Bellevue Police responded to the restaurant just past 9:30 p.m. on Nov. 18, after employees alerted them to the fraudulent activity, according to the affidavit.

    After a short investigation, Silva was arrested and booked into the Sarpy County jail. Three firearms were confiscated from Silva at the time, which were still in police custody at the time of Saturday nights shooting.

    A Sonic Drive-In spokesperson said Silva is not a current employee and never was.

    https://www.wowt.com/2020/11/22/2-de...on-in-custody/
    "I realize this may sound harsh, but as a father and former lawman, I really don't care if it's by lethal injection, by the electric chair, firing squad, hanging, the guillotine or being fed to the lions."
    - Oklahoma Rep. Mike Christian

    "There are some people who just do not deserve to live,"
    - Rev. Richard Hawke

    "Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence"
    - Edgar Allan Poe

  2. #2
    Administrator Helen's Avatar
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    Sarpy County attorney to seek death penalty for Bellevue Sonic shooter

    By KETV Staff Report

    BELLEVUE, Neb. Sarpy County Attorney Lee Polikov on Monday filed first-degree murder charges in Sarpy County Court against Roberto Silva Jr.

    Similar charges had been filed previously, but the filing Monday will allow Polikov to seek the death penalty in this case.

    On Nov. 21, 2020, Silva threw an incendiary device, ignited materials in a rental truck and opened fire in the Bellevue Sonic Drive-In near 15th Street and Cornhusker Road.

    Four employees were shot inside the restaurant, and two employees were able to flee without injury. Two of the victims died at the scene.

    Following his arrest, Silva was charged with nine felonies, including two counts of first-degree murder and one count of first-degree arson.

    On Monday, Polikov dismissed the charges in district court and refiled them in county court. He also added additional charges for attempted first-degree murder of the three employees who were able to flee the store, as well as use of a firearm to commit a felony.

    I took these procedural steps today because I intend to seek the death penalty in this case, Polikov said. I based my decision on the initial investigation as well as new information we received after the case was initially filed, which fit the aggravating circumstances necessary to seek the death penalty.

    Once the case advances from County Court to District Court, the County Attorneys Office will file a notice of aggravators, which will outline the statutory reasons for seeking the death penalty. If convicted, it will be up to a jury or three-judge panel to determine whether any of those aggravators are present, and if so, a three-judge panel will decide if the death penalty is warranted.

    This is the first time Ive sought the death penalty in a case, and the decision to file it was not taken lightly. My thoughts and support are with the victims and their families as they continue to deal with this unimaginable tragedy, Polikov said.

    Silva is also facing a felony charge of Escape Criminal Attempt related to an Oct. 7, 2021, incident in the Sarpy County jail, where he threw cups of feces and urine at Corrections Officers.

    https://www.ketv.com/article/sarpy-c...ooter/38871414
    "I realize this may sound harsh, but as a father and former lawman, I really don't care if it's by lethal injection, by the electric chair, firing squad, hanging, the guillotine or being fed to the lions."
    - Oklahoma Rep. Mike Christian

    "There are some people who just do not deserve to live,"
    - Rev. Richard Hawke

    "Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence"
    - Edgar Allan Poe

  3. #3
    Senior Member Frequent Poster maybeacomedian's Avatar
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    Case for death penalty strengthened against Bellevue Sonic shooter

    By Jordan Himes
    KLNK

    SARPY COUNTY, Neb. (KLKN) – Sarpy County Attorney Lee Polikov filed a “Notice of Aggravators” following previous motions to seek the death penalty against Bellevue Sonic Shooter, Roberto Silva, Jr.

    Silva opened fire at a Bellevue Sonic Drive-In near 15th Street and Cornhusker Road on Nov. 21, 2020.

    Silva killed two employees and wounded two others, three were able to escape safely.

    “Filing the ‘Notice of Aggravators’ is the next procedural step in this case. It provides notice to the defendant of the State’s grounds for seeking the death penalty in this case,” Polikov said.

    The notice was filed on the following circumstances:

    * The murders were committed in an effort to conceal the commission of a crime or to conceal the identity of the perpetrator of such crime

    * The murders were especially heinous, atrocious, cruel, or manifested exceptional depravity by ordinary standards of morality and intelligence

    * At the time the murders were committed, the offender also committed another murder

    * The offender knowingly created a great risk of death to at least several persons

    * The murders were committed knowingly to disrupt or hinder the lawful exercise of any governmental function or the enforcement of the laws

    Recently, Silva pled guilty to the charge of identity theft. He illegally used another person’s identity and Sonic Drive-In mobile account to obtain food from the same Sonic three days before the shootings occurred.

    The judge sentenced Silva to six months in prison for that crime but credited him with six months of time served.

    Silva remains in jail awaiting trial on the charges related to the shooting.

    https://www.klkntv.com/case-for-deat...sonic-shooter/
    https://archive.is/WYym1
    Last edited by Helen; 02-11-2022 at 04:56 PM. Reason: spacing, removed date

  4. #4
    Administrator Helen's Avatar
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    Man pleads guilty to killing 2 at Nebraska restaurant

    By Associated Press

    BELLEVUE, Neb. (AP) A man pleaded guilty Monday to killing two workers and injuring two others at a Nebraska fast-food restaurant last fall.

    Roberto Silva Jr. pleaded guilty to all charges related to the Nov. 21, 2021, shooting at a Sonic Drive-in restaurant in the Omaha suburb of Bellevue, the Sarpy County attorney said in a news release.

    The plea means Silva's case won't go to trial but Sarpy County Attorney Lee Polikov said he still plans to seek the death penalty.

    Silva faced numerous charges, including two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of attempted murder and arson.

    He was accused of setting fire to a U-Haul truck that he had driven to the Sonic Drive-in and then shooting into the restaurant. When officers arrived at the restaurant, they found the U-Haul ablaze and four victims in the business.

    Silva was unarmed when he was arrested nearby a short time later and cooperated with officers.

    The shooting came days after police arrested Silva outside the restaurant on charges he had used another person's Sonic app account to buy $57 worth of hamburgers and corn dogs in four separate purchases at the location. Silva paid 10% of his $1,500 bail and was released from jail.

    https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/crime...ant/ar-AAUKKw9
    "I realize this may sound harsh, but as a father and former lawman, I really don't care if it's by lethal injection, by the electric chair, firing squad, hanging, the guillotine or being fed to the lions."
    - Oklahoma Rep. Mike Christian

    "There are some people who just do not deserve to live,"
    - Rev. Richard Hawke

    "Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence"
    - Edgar Allan Poe

  5. #5
    Senior Member Frequent Poster maybeacomedian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helen View Post
    ...Sarpy County Attorney Lee Polikov said he still plans to seek the death penalty. ...
    Lee is a G!

  6. #6
    Senior Member Frequent Poster Mastro Titta's Avatar
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    Bellevue Sonic shooter wrote letter to prosecutors saying he wants to be executed

    By Alia Conley
    Omaha World Herald

    The man who has admitted to opening fire at a Bellevue Sonic in 2020, killing two people and injuring two others, wrote a letter to prosecutors in October saying he wants to be executed, the Sarpy County attorney said Tuesday.

    Roberto Silva Jr., 24, pleaded guilty Monday to all 15 charges related to the deadly shooting on Nov. 21, 2020, at the Sonic at 1307 Cornhusker Road. Authorities said he killed Nathan Pastrana, 22, and Ryan Helbert, 28, and critically injured Zoey Lujan, then 18, and Kenneth Gerner, then 25.

    Sarpy County Attorney Lee Polikov announced in January — long after initial charges had been filed against Silva — that he intended to seek the death penalty in the case. The Silva case is the first time in Polikov’s more than two decades as county attorney that he has pursued the execution of someone.

    In a letter Polikov’s office received Oct. 4, 2021, Silva wrote that he wanted to move forward with capital punishment, Polikov said.

    “He stated, basically, in my words, that he wants to be executed,” Polikov said. He declined to provide a copy of the entire letter because prosecutors did not submit it to the court as evidence and only referenced it.

    Polikov said Silva’s letter was “just one piece” that factored into his decision to seek the death penalty.

    Polikov said his office still plans to seek the death penalty, despite Silva’s wish to die, because he thinks the facts of the case amount to the highest punishment allowed by Nebraska law — more than the required life sentence.

    “Capital punishment is the law, and my job is to enforce the law,” Polikov said. The case, he said, “fits the violation of the law, in my mind. ... It has everything to do with a balance of justice. How do I get justice for the state and the victims?”

    Polikov said his office was aware of Silva’s intention to plead guilty only a few hours before Monday’s court hearing.

    “There was no negotiation for a plea,” Polikov said. “It was solely his decision and his desire to do that.”

    Silva will next appear in front of a three-judge panel that will weigh aggravating and mitigating circumstances and decide whether to send Silva to death row.

    In a court filing Monday, Deputy Sarpy County Attorney Gage Cobb wrote that Silva’s criminal actions exhibited five of the nine aggravating circumstances listed under state law. The state alleges that the shooting was done in a way to conceal the commission of a crime; that it was especially heinous, atrocious or cruel; that more than one killing occurred; that it was knowingly committed to disrupt law enforcement; and that Silva knowingly created a great risk of death to others.

    Officials said Silva was angry because he had been detained by police days before for using another person’s Sonic app to purchase $57 worth of food at the restaurant.

    Three days later, Silva, who had a Nebraska concealed-carry permit, drove a U-Haul to the restaurant and fired numerous times — Gerner, one of the survivors, was shot 10 times. Silva also threw incendiary devices into the building and set the U-Haul on fire.

    He was put in handcuffs at the scene as he lay face down on the ground.

    Cobb, who is handling the case, read two lines from Silva’s letter at Monday’s hearing.

    “It is my understanding that you don’t have a motive for my actions in (the Sonic shooting case),” Silva wrote. “My intention and motive was to kill the witnesses involved in (the identity theft case) to conceal the commission of that crime.”

    Silva’s attorney, Deputy Sarpy County Public Defender Christopher Lathrop, said he was aware of Silva’s letter to prosecutors but declined to talk more about it or give additional comment on the case and his advice to Silva.

    The last time the death sentence was handed down in Sarpy County involved the 1983 slayings of two young boys, Danny Joe Eberle and Christopher Walden. John Joubert, who confessed to the kidnappings and murders, was executed in 1996.

    https://omaha.com/news/state-and-reg...9d0b41412.html

  7. #7
    Administrator Helen's Avatar
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    Smiling Shooter Reveals Motive Behind Sonic Drive-In Murders, Requests Execution

    By Jax Miller
    Yahoo News

    A Nebraska man dubbed the Smiling Shooter by the media has provided a motive behind why he killed several people and is demanding to be executed.

    On Monday, Roberto Silva Jr., 24, pleaded guilty to 15 charges in connection with the deaths of two people and the wounding of two others at a Sonic Drive-In, the Sarpy County Attorneys Office wrote in a statement to Oxygen.com.

    On Nov. 21, 2020, Silva threw an incendiary device, ignited materials in a rental truck and opened fire at the Bellevue, Nebraska fast-food restaurant.

    Authorities identiified the murder victims as employees Nathan Pastrana, 22, and Ryan Helbert, 28, according to the Bellevue Police Department. Two others, ages 18 and 25, were shot and later treated at a local hospital for their wounds, while an additional three people were able to flee to safety.

    Silva was later dubbed the Sonic Shooter or the Smiling Shooter for the atypical facial expression depicted in his mugshot photo.

    Prosecutors say that Silva confessed to the murders in letters sent to the office of Sarpy County Attorney Lee Polikov last October, according to Omaha.com. He had no plea deal in place.

    Deputy Sarpy County Attorney Gage Cobb read two lines from Silvas letter aloud at Mondays court hearing.

    It is my understanding that you dont have a motive for my actions in (the Sonic Shooting case), Silva wrote. My intention and motive was to kill the witnesses involved in (the identity theft case) to conceal the commission of that crime.

    Silva had been arrested for using someone else's payment methods to obtain food from the same Sonic restaurant just days before the shooting.

    Silva recently pled guilty to the charge of identity theft, the statement read. Silva illegally used another persons identity and Sonic Drive-In mobile account to obtain food from the same Sonic three days before the shooting occurred. The judge sentenced Silva to six months in prison for that crime but credited him with six months of time served.

    Silva stole $57 worth of food on Nov. 18, 2020, and was bonded out of jail on Nov. 20 one day before the deadly shooting, according to NBC affiliate KNOP News. His fraudulent purchases included a Queso burger, four quarter-pound hamburgers, six quarter-pound double burgers, and 12 corndogs.

    The restaurant alerted authorities to the theft by fraud, and Bellevue officers confiscated three firearms from Silva upon his arrest, according to the outlet. Those firearms were still in police custody when the shooting took place.

    Silva, who had a Nebraska state concealed-carry permit, drove a U-Haul truck to the Sonic restaurant and opened fire the day after he bonded out on the identity theft charges. When authorities arrived at the scene, the moving truck had been set ablaze.

    Polikov announced his plans to seek the death penalty in Silvas case on Jan. 24, 2022, according to their statement, and plans to continue to pursue it.

    Roberto Silva knowingly walked into a restaurant that day and killed two people and injured two others, Polikov said in the statement. The death penalty case will move forward.

    Plus, prosecutors say, the defendant also demanded his own execution.

    He stated, basically, in my words, that he wants to be executed, said Polikov, according to Omaha.com.

    The County Attorneys Office told Oxygen.com that Silvas letter in its entirety could not be released to the media because it had yet to be entered into evidence.

    Polikov filed a Notice of Aggravators last February, outlining the aggravating circumstances surrounding the case, according to the statement from the attorneys office. Factors included the killings being carried out in an effort to conceal other crimes and the exceptional depravity of the murders.

    Three district court judges will be appointed by the Nebraska Supreme Court to decide whether or not the aggravating circumstances set forth by Polikov will be enough to warrant Silvas execution.

    https://news.yahoo.com/smiling-shoot...215845287.html
    "I realize this may sound harsh, but as a father and former lawman, I really don't care if it's by lethal injection, by the electric chair, firing squad, hanging, the guillotine or being fed to the lions."
    - Oklahoma Rep. Mike Christian

    "There are some people who just do not deserve to live,"
    - Rev. Richard Hawke

    "Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence"
    - Edgar Allan Poe

  8. #8
    Senior Member Frequent Poster maybeacomedian's Avatar
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    Three-judge panel selected for Bellevue Sonic shooter's Death Penalty trial

    - By Jake Anderson & Michelle Bandur | March 30, 2022 -


    Nebraska Supreme Court: The three-judge panel selected to oversee the death penalty trial of Roberto Silva Jr.


    BELLEVUE, Neb. The three-judge panel has been selected for the death penalty trial of the man who killed two people in a 2020 attack at the Bellevue Sonic Drive-In.

    Sarpy County Attorney Lee Polikov is seeking the death penalty for Roberto Silva Jr., 24, who pled guilty on March 7 to all 15 charges he was facing, which included first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, use of a firearm to commit a felony, among others.

    The attack killed two Sonic employees, Nathan Pastrana and Ryan Helbert.

    After Silva pled guilty, he waived his right to a jury trial. Deputy County Attorney Gage Cobb then read for the court part of a letter written by Silva that was dated Oct. 4, 2021.

    Silva wrote, in part: "It is my understanding that you don't have a motive for my actions in case ID: CR 20 914. My intention and motive was to kill the witnesses involved in Case ID: CR 20 3470 to conceal the commission of that crime."

    District court judges Nathan Cox, Bryan Meismer and Michael Piccolo were appointed by the Nebraska Supreme Court to oversee the trial. A date has not yet been announced.

    Cox, who oversees the second judicial district of Sarpy, Cass and Otoe counties, will act as presiding judge. Meismer is from the sixth judicial district in northeast Nebraska and Piccolo is from the 11th Judicial District of southwest Nebraska.

    Polikov filed a notice of aggravators, which will outline the statutory reasons for seeking the death penalty. Those include:

    1. The murders were committed in an effort to conceal the commission of a crime, or to conceal the identity of the perpetrator of such crime;

    2. The murders were especially heinous, atrocious, cruel, or manifested exceptional depravity by ordinary standards of morality and intelligence;

    3. At the time the murders were committed, the offender also committed another murder;

    4. The offender knowingly created a great risk of death to at least several persons; and

    5. The murders were committed knowingly to disrupt or hinder the lawful exercise of any governmental function or the enforcement of the laws.

    This is the first time Ive sought the death penalty in a case, and the decision to file it was not taken lightly. My thoughts and support are with the victims and their families as they continue to deal with this unimaginable tragedy, Polikov said in January.

    It was Nov. 21, 2020, when Silva threw an incendiary device, set fire to materials in a rental truck and opened fire in the Bellevue Sonic Drive-In near 15th Street and Cornhusker Road.

    Four employees were shot inside the restaurant including the two who died. Three others were able to escape unharmed.

    https://www.ketv.com/article/nebrask...trial/39585483
    https://archive.ph/T7udj

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