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Man who killed Mesa County sheriff’s deputy in 2016 sentenced to 70 years in prison

Austin Holzer

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. — A man who pleaded guilty to killing a Mesa County sheriff’s deputy in 2016 was sentenced to 70 years in prison on Tuesday.

Austin Holzer, 20, pleaded guilty last week to second-degree murder in the death of Mesa County sheriff’s deputy Derek Geer. The plea came a week into jury selection for his trial.

Holzer also pleaded guilty to first-degree assault and a sentence-enhancing crime of violence charge.

He will face 48 years in prison for the second-degree murder charge and 22 years for the first-degree assault charge followed by five years parole.

Holzer was 17 years and 10 months old when he fatally shot Geer while trying to escape arrest in February 2016. Because he was so close to 18, prosecutors charged him as an adult.

“I know I can’t change what I have done but I will spend the rest of my life trying to make up for it,” Holzer said at the hearing, according to the Grand Junction Sentinel.

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