Sarpy County Attorney to seek death penalty for Bellevue Sonic shooter

(Sarpy County, NE) -- The man accused of killing two employees at a Bellevue Sonic Drive-In and wounding two others is now facing the death penalty.

On Monday, Sarpy County Attorney Lee Polikov filed first-degree murder charges against Roberto Silva, Jr. Polikov's office says similar charges had been filed previously, but Monday's filing will allow the County Attorney to seek the death penalty in this case. On November 21, 2020, Silva threw an incendiary device, ignited materials in a rental truck and opened fire in the Bellevue Sonic Drive-In near 15th Street and Cornhusker Road. Four Sonic employees were shot inside the restaurant, two of the victims died at the scene.

Following his arrest, Silva was charged with nine felonies, including two counts of first degree murder and one count of first-degree arson. On Monday, Polikov also added additional charges for attempted first-degree murder for 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.” If convicted, it will be up to a jury or three-judge panel to determine 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 October 7, 2021, incident in the Sarpy County jail, where he threw cups of feces and urine at Corrections Officers.

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