PRESTON, IDAHO — A 42-year-old former Richmond man has been sentenced to 25-years-to-life in prison, for murdering 43-year-old Chad Andrus and threatening to kill another man during a fight in April 2014.
James “Kelly” Pilgrim appeared in 6th District Court Thursday morning for sentencing after previously pleading guilty to murder, a second-degree felony and aggravated assault with a firearm.
Sobs and gasps were heard through the court room as Judge Mitchell W. Brown pronounced his sentence. He ordered Pilgrim to serve five-years with at least three-years fixed for the assault charge and life with at least 22-years fixed for the murder charge. The two sentences were ordered to be served consecutively.
Before being sentenced Pilgrim told the court, nothing he could say would make the situation any better for anybody. He said everybody lost something because of what he did that night.
“There are people that go to bed every night, because of my behavior, crying every night” said Pilgrim. “Some people don’t even get to sleep at night because of my behavior.”
Pilgrim shot and killed Andrus early on the morning of April 26, in an out-building near Andrus’ home in Preston. The two were drinking and listening to music with some other men when a fight reportedly broke out.
Witnesses told police they saw Andrus fall to the ground after hearing three-or-four shots. It was later determined that Pilgrim had two handguns and shot Andrus four times. He then pointed one of the guns at another man and asked him if he wanted to die.
Pilgrim was knocked unconscious by Andrus’ son Tyler, who witnessed the shooting and used a “dumbbell” to strike him on the head.
When Pilgrim accepted a plea deal with state prosecutors it was recommended to the judge that he be sentenced to 30-years in prison with 15-years fixed.
Judge Brown refused the recommendation saying he felt blindfolded because Pilgrim refused to talk about the night of the murder, claiming he couldn’t remember what happened. He also noted Pilgrim’s criminal history that began when he was 15-years-old, including a previous conviction for threating to kill his former wife and children. He said the community is jeopardy if he is not locked up.
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