Nebraska county prosecutor seeks death penalty in fast-food shooting that left 2 dead

A Nebraska man accused of killing two people at a fast-food restaurant in 2020 and leaving two others injured could face the death penalty if convicted, the county attorney’s office said this week. 

Sarpy County Attorney Lee Polikov announced Monday his office would seek the death penalty for Roberto Silva Jr., 24, who faces first-degree murder charges in the Nov. 21, 2020, shooting outside a Sonic restaurant in Bellevue, Nebraska, WOWT-TV in Omaha reported. 

Employees Nathan Pastrana, 22, and Ryan Helbert, 28, were killed. Two others were injured.

Roberto Silva Jr., 24, allegedly "threw an incendiary device, ignited materials in a rental truck and opened fire," leaving two people dead at a Sonic restaurant in Nebraska on Nov. 21, 2020. 

Roberto Silva Jr., 24, allegedly "threw an incendiary device, ignited materials in a rental truck and opened fire," leaving two people dead at a Sonic restaurant in Nebraska on Nov. 21, 2020.  (Sarpy County Jail )

It was the first time Polikov has sought the death penalty after 30 years in elected office. 

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This Oct. 9, 2014, file photo shows the gurney in the the execution chamber at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, Okla. 

This Oct. 9, 2014, file photo shows the gurney in the the execution chamber at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, Okla.  (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)

"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," Polikov said in a news conference, according to WOWT. "I will tell you that there are nine circumstances outlined by statutes that are aggravating circumstances and the evidence we have, we haven’t presented in court so I don’t want to get into the details of why we think that a number of those nine aggravators are applicable to this case."

Sarpy County Attorney Lee Polikov is seeking the death penalty for the first time in his career. 

Sarpy County Attorney Lee Polikov is seeking the death penalty for the first time in his career.  (Sarpy County)

Silva faces more than a dozen charges, including two counts of first-degree murder and five counts of attempted first-degree murder. Three employees escaped unharmed. 

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Since his arrest, Silva has been accused of attacking another inmate and throwing cups of feces and urine at guards, according to WOWT

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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