No jail time given in homicide sentence
A Carbondale man received no prison time Thursday in the accidental shooting death of his friend Bobby Rogers on April 2, 2003.
Instead, Jessie Brooks, 23, was sentenced to six years of probation; 45 days of “work-enders” – a program where he’ll work on projects in Garfield County with county jail inmates; 250 hours of community service; mandatory substance abuse counseling; and $2,767 in restitution.
Ninth District Judge T. Peter Craven urged Brooks to use his community service hours to educate young people about the dangers of mixing alcohol and guns.
Craven also ordered Brooks to write a letter of apology to Bobby Rogers’ mother, Donna Knight of Las Vegas. And he ordered that Brooks continue taking an unspecified medication, forfeit his two handguns – one of which was used in the shooting and pay court fees.
“I think the sentence is entirely appropriate,” Brooks’ defense attorney Arnold Mordkin said after Thursday’s hearing.
Aside from Mordkin, three people spoke on behalf of Brooks at the hearing, including Knight.
Crying and shaking as she spoke, Knight pleaded with the judge not to give Brooks any jail time.
“I know there could not be any punishment more severe than what Jessie has put himself through,” she said. “I feel Jessie is truly remorseful.”
Brooks’ mother, Christine Brooks, and his fiancee, Lea Zugschwerdt, both of Carbondale, also gave lengthy appeals on Brooks’ behalf.
“This is not a young man who simply shrugged his shoulders and walked away,” Christine Brooks said. “We feel that Jessie has learned a valuable lesson, and one that he will never forget.”
Zugschwerdt also asked Craven not to send Brooks to jail.
“I implore you, your honor, that when you sentence my fiancee Jessie Brooks, that you don’t include any jail time,” she said.
The shooting occurred April 2, 2003, while Rogers was visiting with Brooks and Zugschwerdt. The couple was moving into a townhouse at 1360 Barber Drive in Carbondale on the day of the shooting.
After drinking some beers and a couple of shots throughout the day, Brooks and Rogers started wrestling around in the kitchen of the townhouse. That’s when a .22-caliber pistol went off, hitting Rogers in the head and killing him instantly.
Brooks was found guilty by a jury of criminally negligent homicide on Jan. 12.