An Idaho Falls man who fired several bullets at teenagers in Tautphaus Park will serve a minimum of four years in prison, a judge ruled Thursday.
Jeremy Marston, 37, attacked the teenagers in August after he traded insults with one of the kids and accused them of displaying “gang signs.”
Marston accepted a plea agreement admitting to two counts of aggravated assault and unlawful discharge of a firearm. Two other aggravated assault charges were dismissed, as well as a deadly weapon enhancement.
During the sentencing, the court read a victim impact statement from the mother of one of the victims, who was in a car hit by one gunshot. The statement said the victim was in the car with a friend when she heard what she thought were fireworks. They realized it was gunfire when one of the windows was hit, and they felt a bullet fly between them.
“(My daughter) doesn’t have to imagine what it feels like to have the glass hit her, to feel the bullets go rushing by in slow motion,” the statement said.
The mother was also frustrated by what she felt was a lack of accountability from Marston. She said she felt “rage when I hear Mr. Marston’s attorney say he doesn’t want to be in jail.”
“Seeing Mr. Marston showing no remorse for what he has done, smiling and acting as if it was no big deal, he just didn’t want to be in jail.”
The mother said her child had nightmares, and they were concerned if she would be able to handle Independence Day celebrations.
Public Defense Attorney John Thomas cited his client’s tough childhood, which included abuse and involved his mother being absent while in prison. Thomas said he has known Marston for years, and that he is a good person who made a bad decision, and that his life had set him up to fail.
Thomas also claimed his client was in a “blacked out” state during the shooting and did not mean to hurt anyone.
“Mr. Marston is somebody who can be saved, who deserves to be saved, who needs to be saved,” he said.
Bonneville County Chief Deputy Prosecutor John Dewey agreed Marston had a tough childhood, but pointed to his criminal history, which included 16 misdemeanors and five other felonies. According to Dewey, Marston has had cases pending nearly nonstop since 2001 and was on probation when the shooting happened.
Dewey also pointed out the case could be much more serious if anyone had been hit by the gunfire.
“It is just luck that there wasn’t somebody killed,” Dewey said.
Marston apologized to the court for his actions, asking for mercy and saying he wanted to improve himself.
“I hope that someday the victims can truly forgive me and understand I really wasn’t trying to hurt nobody,” Marston said.
Judge Tingey rejected a retained jurisdiction sentence, saying Marston’s criminal history was “not encouraging at all,” and echoing Dewey’s comments that the shooting could have ended more tragically.
“This is really a reckless disregard for human life,” Tingey said.
Marston was sentenced to four years fixed for the aggravated assault charges with one year indeterminate. He was sentenced to four years fixed for the unlawful discharge of a weapon, and six years indeterminate. The sentences will be served concurrently.
Tingey ordered Marston to pay $1,329 in restitution for one of the cars damaged in the attack. Dewey said in court he intends to file motions for restitution for two other cars that were damaged.