A man who fatally shot two men following an argument over directions is facing life in prison, the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole has decided.
The Salt Lake Tribune reports that 31-year-old Christian C. Sweeten pleaded guilty to the 2011 aggravated murders of Michael T. Ehlert and Anthony M. Gaines.
In September 2008, Sweeten shot the two men after he asked them for directions and ended up going back where he started, near 500 North and 1000 West in Salt Lake City.
The two men did not carry weapons and had been shot in the back with a .22-caliber rifle, according to the Daily Mail.
Sweeten, who turned himself into police hours later, was allegedly acting in self-defense.
Sweeten’s defense attorney, Michael Sikora, said his client’s blood was three times the legal limit when the murder happened.
Prosecutors have planned to seek the death penalty, but Sweeten took a plea deal. A 3rd District judge sentenced him to two consecutive 20 years to life terms on the aggravated murder charges, the Salt Lake City Tribune reported.
“I messed up,” Sweeten said during the 2011 trial. “I'm absolutely ashamed of myself.
“I want to acknowledge the pain and anguish I have caused. I deprived a mother of her son, a sister her brother, and a son his father.”
Ehlert was survived by his 4-year-old old son.
“I cannot forgive you – maybe one day, but not today,” Nicole, Ehlert’s sister told Sweeten during the hearing.
“Michael was everything to our family and friends,” she added. “It has been very hard living day by day without him by our side.”
"I don't think any punishment we can give is commensurate to a murder, or in this case two murders," Salt Lake County prosecutor Robert Stott said.
“My son would not have wanted someone to die. An eye for an eye, that's not what this is about,” Ilse, Ehlert’s mother, said after the trial in 2011.