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6:40 PM Tue, Nov. 20th

Brink gets maximum sentence

Dolan man receives 14 years for shooting on Christmas Day

KINGMAN - A Dolan Springs man was sentenced to 14 years in prison Tuesday for the shooting death of another Dolan Springs man on Christmas Day 2005.

Mohave County Judge James Chavez sentenced Vincent James Brink, 61, to the maximum amount based on the guilty plea agreement Brink made with the Mohave County Attorney's Office.

Brink received 550 days credit for time already served. Upon his release, Brink will face two years of supervision by the courts.

Brink addressed the court prior to sentencing. He expressed remorse and accepted responsibility for the death of Randall Hancock Eller III, 37, of Dolan Springs.

"I don't know what else to say, but it shouldn't of happened," Brink said. "But it did happen. There's nothing I can do to correct that."

Brink was initially facing a second-degree murder charge in the incident, but

the charge was reduced to manslaughter, a Class 2 felony, on April 24 as part of the plea agreement.

Chavez deferred acceptance of the guilty plea at the time until judgment and sentencing. The judge said at sentencing Tuesday that he accepted the agreement because he felt the shooting was reckless.

Chavez said he gave Brink an aggravated sentence because of his prior conviction from an incident in 1970 involving a firearm that sent Brink to prison for four years.

"It's remarkable that you have the offense 37 years ago," Chavez.

Chavez added that more aggravating factors were the emotional harm caused to the victim's family and the benefits of the plea that prevented Brink from being sentenced to the maximum 21 years.

Chavez added that he did consider Brink's military service during the Vietnam War and remorsefulness as mitigating factors, but they were outweighed by the aggravating factors.

According to court documents, the Mohave County Sheriff's Office received a call from Eller's cousin, Roy Estes, that Eller had been shot and Estes was dropping him off at the Lake Mohave Ranchos Fire Department.

Eller was interviewed by the MCSO deputies before being flown to Las Vegas. He said two unidentified men pulled up next to him and his cousin while they were sitting in his cousin's truck.

Then one man allegedly got out of the other vehicle, walked up to Estes's truck, opened the door and shot Eller.

Eller later died during surgery at the University Medical Center in Las Vegas. According to Clark County medical examiner, the gunshot entered above Eller's right hip and traveled up his body where it became lodged in his chest cavity.

Eller gave a description of the shooter, which led deputies to Brink.

Brink told deputies a neighbor, Mike McGinnis, woke him Christmas morning after McGinnis noticed his water trailer missing. McGinnis and Brink drove around looking for it.

The report said Brink told detectives he did approach the alleged thieves but never fired a gun. At sentencing, Brink's defense attorney, Michael Hruby, argued that the gun had accidentally discharged after the truck Eller was in drove away and knocked Brink down to the ground.

Hruby said Brink's actions were reckless but not intentional.