BREAKING NEWS: Esch sent to prison

Custer County District Judge Karin Noakes firmly addressed Trent Esch Thursday morning before passing sentence on him in District Court. "It is obvious to everyone involved in this case that you have an extreme problem with alcohol, and despite everyone's efforts - including the judicial system - it has just gotten worse," said Judge Noakes. "And the repercussions of that have escalated. You certainly intended to send a message when you chose this target, and that's disturbing." Judge Noakes handed down a sentence of 5-7 years on Count 1 - use of a firearm to commit a felony, and 20-36 months on Count 2 - criminal mischief. Count 1 carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 5 years, meaning he will not be eligible for parole until a year after he has served his mandatory minimum. The sentences were ordered to be served consecutively, and the Judge did grant credit for the 283 days served on Count 2. Esch, 36 of Broken Bow, had been found guilty of shooting up a Custer County Sheriff's Department vehicle by a jury Feb. 12.