A full courtroom on Thursday, August 19 saw convicted murderer Trent Esch, 45, officially receive his sentence from District Judge Karin Noakes of life in prison.
During his trial in June, Esch was convicted by a jury of 1st-degree murder, use of a firearm to commit a felony, and possession of a firearm by a prohibited person. With the conviction of 1st-degree murder, the jury had decided Esch premeditated the killing of his stepmother, Crystal Esch, on July 11, 2020. Esch and his attorney James Davis stipulated to a lot of the evidence surrounding the weapon charges and during the trial told the jury to find Esch guilty of those charges.
During Thursday’s sentencing, Crystal Esch’s daughter Belinda Chapman and Trent Esch’s daughter Jayden Esch took the stand to read the letters that had been sent to the probation office. After which, special prosecutor Michael Guinan made his argument regarding the sentencing of Trent. Guinan stated Trent had a lifelong sense of entitlement and that, “Everyone owes him something.” He stated Trent has blamed everyone for his problems and when he gets told ‘No’ he becomes a threat.
Guinan said Trent has spent his entire life terrorizing the community and blaming others. Even when the court ruled the land he thought belonged to him did not, Trent did not accept the verdict and instead harassed the family even through multiple protection orders. Guinan concluded, “Trent is the poster child for life without parole.”
Trent’s attorney, James Davis, stated he was confused why Guinan was recapping the events at trial since the jury found Trent guilty of 1st-degree murder. With the ruling, there was no reason to argue about the sentencing because state statute says he must get life without parole. Davis did ask that the judge not appease the crowd and add an unnecessary sentence on the other two charges since he was already spending life in prison.
“The other two charges are redundant,” said Davis. “He is going to die in prison.”
While announcing her sentencing Judge Karin Noakes said, “It doesn’t get much more violent than this.” When addressing Trent, Judge Noakes noted that it had been clear, he had spent much of the past decade using his time and energy to terrorize the family and community. She said he had not accepted responsibility for any of his actions in the past and continued to have a lack of empathy for the victim, the victim’s family, and the child witnesses.
Judge Noakes said the sentence for the firearm charges was not to appease the crowd, but instead represented his actions. She noted that Trent was not a low-level convicted felon and that he had shot a cop car at the officer’s home in a previous case.
Judge Noakes sentenced Trent Esch to life in prison for 1st-degree murder, 45-50 years for use of a firearm to commit a felony, and 45-50 years for possession of a firearm by a prohibited person, all to be served consecutively.
Day 1 Jury Selection (no story)
Day 2 Esch Trial Begins Wednesday With Testimony From Officers And Child Witnesses
Day 3 Trent Esch Takes Stand To End Day 3 Of Trial; Closing Arguments Friday
Day 4 Jury Enters Deliberation Following Closing Arguments In Trent Esch Trial
Jury Verdict: Esch Guilty of First-Degree Murder; Conviction Carries Mandatory LIfe In Prison