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Judge credits shotgun-wielding man for showing remorse

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COLUMBUS — A district court judge credited a former Columbus man for recognizing the mistakes he made in January when he wielded a loaded shotgun during a confrontation with another city man.

“You’ve expressed remorse for your behavior (during earlier court hearings) and you’ve done the same in remarks to the court this morning,” Platte County Judge Robert Steinke told Daniel Aguilar while sentencing the 25-year-old to one year of probation for the Jan. 20 incident.

Aguilar, who has since moved to Norfolk, pleaded guilty to attempted terroristic threats, a Class IV felony punishable by up to two years in prison and 12 months of post-release supervision.

Steinke said he was also giving Aguilar a chance at probation because his prior criminal history consisted entirely of misdemeanor offenses.

The judge said the sentence follows a 2015 legislative mandate that unless there are compelling reasons to do otherwise, a defendant convicted of a Class IV felony shall be sentenced to probation.

“You’ve got two kids and a wife who depend on you,” Steinke told Aguilar. “They are great motivation for keeping you out of trouble in the future. Don’t let your family down.”

Aguilar was initially charged with attempted terroristic threats and use of a firearm to commit a felony. He also faced misdemeanor charges, including stalking, second-degree trespassing and having a loaded shotgun in a vehicle on a roadway.

An ongoing dispute involving Aguilar and another man escalated into a menacing situation the evening of Jan. 20 that drew five Columbus Police officers to the front yard of a house in the 2200 block of 16th Street.

Police officers responded to a 4:59 p.m. report of a dispute at 2208 16th St. when two men raced up to the residence in a vehicle and began clashing with a resident of the property and another city man, according to court documents.

Police said the dispute quickly came to a boil, with the resident grabbing a baseball bat and telling the men to leave the property, and the driver of the vehicle pulling out a loaded shotgun.

Officer Jorge Magdaleno wrote in his probable cause arrest statement that video surveillance of the property's backyard showed Aguilar and another man arriving and parking in the alley.

"Aguilar appeared to be the aggressor," Magdaleno wrote.

After a heated exchange, the resident retrieved a baseball bat from his garage and later a handgun from his car, and Aguilar got a shotgun from his vehicle, the officer wrote.

When the situation calmed down, police jailed Aguilar. The man who arrived with him was released by police.

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