Man sentenced to 4 years in prison for shooting gun into Steamboat bar
December 12, 2013
Steamboat Springs — The man who fired a gun at three people in a downtown Steamboat Springs bar the evening of June 8, 2012, is going to prison.
Judge Shelley Hill on Thursday sentenced Steven Torres to four years in the Colorado Department of Corrections. Torres will get credit for the 1 1/2 years he has been held at the Routt County Jail.
"What you did this night was very, very serious, Mr. Torres," Hill said. "You and your victims were very lucky that no one was hurt. It was very dangerous behavior."
Hill said the sentence was meant to send a message to the community that such behavior would not be tolerated.
No one disputed that Torres fired a single gunshot into the Tap House bar after being kicked out, but lawyers during his trial disagreed on why Torres fired the shot.
Prosecutors argued it was a shot to kill. The defense said it was a shot to scare.
"First and foremost, I don’t believe you meant to hurt anyone that night," Hill said right before she handed down the sentence.
One attempted murder charge was filed for each of the bar employees who were in the area where the bullet struck the floor.
After hearing three days of testimony, a Routt County jury acquitted Torres of three counts of attempted first-degree murder and illegally discharging a firearm. Instead, the jury found Torres guilty of felony menacing and three counts of misdemeanor reckless endangerment.
A routine report prepared by the probation department for the sentencing hearing recommended Torres be sentenced to intensive supervised probation.
Torres' attorney, Public Defender Sheryl Uhlmann, said the recommended sentence would be difficult for Torres. After spending 1 1/2 years in jail, Torres is indigent. He essentially has nothing — no cellphone, no place to live and no job. Not having those things would make it hard for Torres to follow the terms of supervised probation, Uhlmann said.
Instead, she recommended Torres be sentenced to two years in community corrections.
Routt County Deputy District Attorney Eliot Thompson filed a motion asking the court to consider a sentence that was beyond the presumptive range. He argued the crime committed by Torres had aggravating factors because Torres fired a gun. The aggravating factors would warrant a greater sentence, and Thompson asked for the maximum six years.
Hill agreed there were aggravating factors.
"You not only showed the weapon … but you actually shot the gun," Hill said.
After being released from prison, Torres will be on parole for two years.