Joshua Beasley was sentenced to three to five years in prison Thursday morning for the death of his wife Alaina.
The courtroom was packed with friends and family of both Joshua and his wife Alaina Beasley. Originally charged with manslaughter, Joshua entered a plea of no contest to a charge of second-degree assault, after he says he was playing an "intruder game" with Alaina, pointed a shotgun at her and pulled the trigger, not realizing the gun was loaded. Now, he'll spend time in prison for the shooting he calls an accident, but for which Alaina's family is seeking justice.
Lancaster County Attorney Gary Lacey described the incident that led to the death of 20-year-old Alaina, and said although Joshua "didn't intend to kill her," he still committed an unlawful act by pointing the gun at her.
Beasley's Attorney Sean Brennan addressed the court requesting a sentence of probation saying Beasley did not represent a threat or danger to anyone, he has led a peaceful, law-abiding life, and has no need for rehabilitation.
Beasley then stated his remorse, "From the bottom of my heart, I am sorry for what happened. If I could do anything to change that I would," he said.
Despite Beasley's remarks, Lancaster County District Judge Steven Burns said he must pass sentence on the actions that led to the death of Alaina, and stated that Joshua must serve three to five years in prison.
Brennan immediately requested a one-week period for Beasley to attend to personal matters like canceling his fall enrollment at Grace University in Omaha, and moving his belongings before beginning his sentence, and Judge Burns agreed.
After the hearing, family and friends of Joshua gathered outside the courtroom and the County/City Building crying and praying. Joshua's older brother Caleb Beasley was shocked at the sentence.
"There's a place for mercy, especially when the person affected by him breaking the law was himself... I don't see how this helps anything," said Caleb.
Alaina's family wouldn't talk on camera, but in a statement said, "Joshua's neglectful and irresponsible behavior with no regard for the effect of his actions is overwhelmingly unimaginable to us and cost the life of his own wife. While we don't believe Alaina's death was premeditated, it was not an accident."
Beasley was ordered to surrender himself to the Lancaster County Jail October 4, 2009 to begin serving his sentence.