A delay Monday in deciding whether the man who killed two people and injured two others at the Bellevue Sonic Drive-In in November 2020 will receive the death penalty.
Roberto Carlos Silva Jr.
BUTTERFLY, Neb. (WOWT) — A delay Monday in deciding whether the man who killed two people and injured two others at the Bellevue Sonic Drive-In in November 2020 will face the death penalty.
Roberto Carlos Silva Jr.’s defense team said Monday that their client’s mental health deteriorated while in solitary confinement. Attorney Chris Lathrop said he’s not sure Silva can help with his own defense as the state prepares for the death penalty phase of his case.
He requested that Silva be examined by two psychologists from Lincoln Regional Center.
Sarpy County District Court Judge Nathan Cox ordered Silva, who is being held at the Tecumseh State Correctional Facility, to be assessed for competency at the Lincoln Regional Center.
Sarpy County Assistant District Attorney Gage Cobb said he believes the order does not affect the plea, only the sentencing phase.
“The law allows whenever the defense or the prosecution has a jurisdictional issue, the court can order an assessment that it made when deciding the case,” he said.
Presiding Judge Nathan Cox urged the defense to get the mental evaluations started as soon as possible, even saying it was probably best for the regional center medical professionals to come to Tecumseh to check on Silva.
Cameras weren’t allowed in court on Monday, but 6 News noted that Silva looked very different in his mugshot and recorded video footage of previous appearances; Dressed in a gray jumpsuit, he arrived in court with a fashionable haircut and a long beard.
Silva was also surrounded by seven law enforcement personnel throughout the proceedings.
In early March, Silva pleaded guilty to 15 felony charges in the Bellevue Sonic shooting, including first-degree murder and first-degree arson. The Sarpy County District Attorney’s Office is seeking the death penalty. Detectives said he was upset that he was investigated for using someone else’s account to buy $50 worth of food.
A three-judge panel was set up last week to determine whether the double murder case reaches the level of the death penalty. Judge Cox is joined on the panel by Judge Bryan Meismer of the 6th District Court and Judge Michael Piccolo of the 11th District.