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Judge finds man guilty of first-degree murder

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Photo: Video by kmtv.com

Judge finds man guilty of first-degree murder

By Dara Newson. CREATED Jul 17, 2014

PAPILLION, Neb. (KMTV) - A Gretna man accused of shooting and killing his 69-year-old father was found guilty in a Sarpy County courtroom.

Defense attorneys don't deny Steven Braesch shot his father, but they argue it was manslaughter because it occurred during a heated argument. 

However, the judge disagreed, calling it a premeditated crime.

"I feel like the judgement was correct. He has no reason to be walking on this earth ever again," says Rich Braesch,  the brother of the victim, William Braesch.

Sarpy County Judge Max Kelch found Braesch guilty of first-degree murder, use of a weapon to commit a felony and three counts of negligent child abuse. 

"A sense of closure yes, will it go away no," said Rich Braesch.

Authorities say William's son, Steven, was living with his parents who told him he had 30 days to move out, prompting an argument.  

Evidence shows Steven shot his father five times, several shots in close range in front of his three little nieces.

"It's always going to be in our head. It's a bad thing all the way around," said Rich Braesch.

Steven's defense argued it was his mental health that caused him to kill his father.  The Sarpy County Attorney's Office argued there was no remorse and the intent was deliberate.

Chief Deputy County Attorney Tricia Freeman says, "He left the room. He went downstairs. He grabbed the gun that he knew would be loaded. He came back upstairs and he shot his dad at that point."
 
A jail phone recording played in court revealed Steven Braesch said he planned to kill his father six months before it happened, but he didn't know how to load a gun.

"Come forward six months and he now knows how to load a gun and he grabbed the only gun in the house he knew to be loaded," says Freeman.
 
After the verdict, family members crowded outside the courtroom standing with a sense of relief but also pain.

The brother of the victim says William "was the type of guy that he would do anything for you."