Judge allows ND shooter to spend 3 days with newborn premature baby
MINOT, N.D.--A man convicted of firing bullets into an occupied apartment building in Minot last September will be allowed to spend three days free before he begins serving a three-year jail sentence.
MINOT, N.D.-A man convicted of firing bullets into an occupied apartment building in Minot last September will be allowed to spend three days free before he begins serving a three-year jail sentence.
Antwan Alexander, 19, wanted to spend time with his baby, who was born prematurely last month and is in a hospital neonatal intensive care unit.
"I'm taking a huge risk," Judge Richard Hagar told Alexander, but Hagar decided to allow Alexander the time with his baby to remind him of why he should straighten his life out.
Alexander pleaded guilty on Monday to two counts of reckless endangerment, both Class C felonies. A third reckless endangerment charge was dismissed under a plea deal with the state.
Alexander admitted to firing the shots in the direction of an apartment building at 2529 2nd Avenue SW at 11:28 p.m. on Sept. 8. A woman and her two young children were in the building at the time, but no one was injured.
Alexander thought a man who had threatened him and had him beaten up lived in the building, said Alexander's lawyer, Patrick Waters. Alexander's intended target has allegedly been involved with drugs and gang activity. Waters said Alexander had tried to obtain protection orders against the other man, but to no avail.
According to court documents, Alexander's girlfriend, a minor, was driving the car he was in that night. Also in the car were Alexander, another man and a 5-month-old girl. Alexander told the driver to turn the lights off on the vehicle and she saw him get out of the backseat. The girlfriend told police she heard gunshots, saw a muzzle flash and then Alexander got back in the car and told her urgently to "Go, go, go!" Alexander directed his girlfriend to drive away from the area, then stop the car so he could get out and put the gun in the trunk.
Because a gun was involved in the crime, Alexander must serve at least two years under state law. Waters told the judge that Alexander should only be sentenced to those two years instead of three years in prison. Waters said that Alexander grew up in a dangerous and violent community in Florida and his father was incarcerated during much of his childhood. Waters also said that the 19-year-old Alexander is very young and studies show that the brain isn't fully mature in adolescent males. Alexander has been out on bond since last fall and has obeyed the law, said Waters. This was Alexander's first brush with the criminal justice system.
Waters said Alexander moved to North Dakota from Florida to join his girlfriend, who had come from Florida to live with a relative. He also had other relatives who had moved to Minot earlier, according to Waters.
Hagar said he took what Waters said into account, but believes a three-year sentence is appropriate because of the nature of the crime. It could have been far worse if someone had been hit by one of the bullets Alexander fired on Sept. 8, said Hagar. Hagar sentenced him to five years for each of the reckless endangerment charges, with a requirement that he serve three years. The sentences will be served concurrently.
Hagar gave Alexander until 5 p.m. Thursday to report to the jail to begin serving his sentence.