AURORA, Colo. — A man was sentenced last week to 23 years in prison for a 2019 shooting in which he mistook the victim, who was out walking his dogs, for a rival gang member, according to the 18th Judicial District Attorney's Office.
Mikal Newton, 20, of Denver, was sentenced Friday in Arapahoe County District Court for the Oct. 22, 2019, shooting in Aurora, the DA's office said in a news release. Newton had pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree assault with serious bodily injury, a Class 3 felony. Other counts against him were dismissed as part of the plea agreement.
The DA's office said the shooting was a case of mistaken identity. It happened after a gang member killed a member of a rival gang in Denver, and affiliates of the dead man vowed revenge. Newton thought the victim, a 44-year-old man, was a member of the rival gang.
On Oct. 22, 2019, the victim was walking his two dogs when a car pulled up and one of the occupants yelled something referencing one of the gangs, which the victim ignored, the DA's office said.
The victim returned to his home at the Sable Landing Condominiums, located near South Chambers Road and East Mississippi Avenue. He turned and saw one of the occupants of the car, who shot him several times, the DA's office said. The victim survived the shooting.
“The victim in this case was simply a man in his own community out walking his dogs," Deputy District Attorney Tony Tarantino, the prosecutor from the Organized Crime Unit who handled the case, said in a news release. "The defendant in this case mistook him for a rival gang member and then very coldly, with no provocation or hesitation, shot and nearly killed him."
Aurora Police traced shell casings left at the scene to Newton, who still had the gun that matched the casings, according to the DA's office. The gun was traced to two other crimes in Denver.
Newton had three more cases in Denver, all from November 2019, according to court records.
In one of the cases, he faced 17 counts and pleaded guilty to one: first-degree assault with a deadly weapon. He was sentenced last month to 25 years in prison with credit for time served.
In another case, he faced 16 counts and pleaded guilty to two: accessory to a crime and violent crime with a weapon. He was sentenced last month to 15 years in prison with credit for time served.
In a third case, he pleaded guilty to felony menacing with a weapon and was sentenced to paying $326 to victims' funds, according to court records.
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