Sarpy County Attorney seeks death penalty for Bellevue Sonic shooter

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SARPY COUNTY, Neb. (KLKN) – Lee Polikov, Sarpy County Attorney, filed first-degree murder charges in Sarpy County Court today against Bellevue Sonic Shooter, Roberto Silva, Jr.


While similar charges have been previously filed, the new filing on behalf of Polikov will allow him to seek the death penalty in this case.

During the evening on Nov. 21, 2020, Silva threw an incendiary device, igniting materials in a rental truck and opened fire in the Bellevue Sonic Drive-In near 15th Street and Cornhusker Road.  Silva killed two employees and wounded two others, three were able to escape safely.

SEE ALSO: 2 dead, 2 injured after shooting in Bellevue

Silva was charged with nine felonies, including two counts of first-degree murder and one count of first-degree arson.

SEE ALSO: Bond denied in fatal attack at Nebraska fast food restaurant

Today, Polikov dismissed the charges in district court and refiled them in county court.  He added additional charges for attempted first-degree murder of the three employees who were able to flee the store, as well as use of a firearm to commit a felony.

“I took these procedural steps today because I intend to seek the death penalty in this case,” Polikov said. “I based my decision on the initial investigation as well as new information we received after the case was initially filed, which fit the aggravating circumstances necessary to seek the death penalty.”

Once the case advances from County Court to District Court, the County Attorney’s Office will file a “notice of aggravators,” which will outline the statutory reasons for seeking the death penalty.

If convicted, it will be up to a jury or three-judge panel to determine whether any of those aggravators are present, and if so, a three-judge panel will decide if the death penalty is warranted.

“This is the first time I’ve sought the death penalty in a case, and the decision to file it was not taken lightly. My thoughts and support are with the victims and their families as they continue to deal with this unimaginable tragedy,” Polikov said.

Silva is also facing a felony charge of Escape – Criminal Attempt related to an Oct. 7, 2021, incident in the Sarpy County jail, where he threw cups of feces and urine at Corrections Officers.

SEE ALSO: Bellevue Police release names of Sonic shooting victims

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