The last of three co-defendants charged in the January shooting death of a 16-year-old Cheyenne girl will spend at least the next two years of his life in prison.

Goshen County District Court Judge Edward Buchanan on Monday sentenced 19-year-old Cheyenne resident Cody Nicholson to two to three years for accessory after the fact to involuntary manslaughter, saying he was "not an appropriate candidate for probation."

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The deadly shooting happened around 6 p.m. on Jan. 9, 2023, in the area of Frontier Mall.

According to police, 26-year-old Burns resident Sarah Heath was driving west on Dell Range Boulevard near Brakes Plus when the then 18-year-old Nicholson, who was in the back seat with 19-year-old Cheyenne resident Tirso Munguia, set his gun on the seat between them.

When Nicholson noticed Munguia had picked up the gun he told Munguia, "Be careful there's one in the head," meaning it was loaded.

Munguia then admittedly picked up the gun, pointed it at Angelina Harrison who was in the front passenger seat, and pulled the trigger.

Heath reportedly pulled into the nearby NextCare Urgent Care and told Nicholson to get out of the car because he had a warrant for a probation violation on an original charge of DUI, but no one went inside to get Harrison, who was bleeding out, help.

Heath then proceeded to the mall parking lot and called 911, but by the time medical personnel arrived it was too late.

Munguia and Heath then lied to responding officers, saying they didn't know Nicholson and leading them to believe Nicholson was the shooter.

Nicholson was eventually located after an hours-long manhunt and interviewed and was the only one who was reportedly forthcoming about the incident.

"I just want to say like I'm super sorry," Nicholson said during his sentencing. "If I could go back in the past and change things I would. I didn't mean for any of this to happen and there's nothing I can do about it now."

But Harrison's parents, who made victim impact statements, say Nicholson had no business having a gun.

"Just because he found a loophole to purchase a (kit) gun and have it doesn't mean that ... he should be forgiven because it wasn't illegal," said David Harrison. "If he wouldn't have showed up with the gun, Angelina wouldn't have got shot."

"You chose to run to avoid a few days in jail rather than help your friend," he added. "You're just as guilty as the people who decided to blame it on you to begin with ... but because you put so much effort into not getting caught, you're going to walk out of here with a slap on the wrist today."

"I would rather have all of my limbs cut off with a dull knife using no anesthesia than to deal with this pain of losing my baby," said Amanda Harrison. "At least then there would be some sort of chance at recovery, some sort of medicine I could take to deal with the pain. For this there is no recovery and nothing that eases the pain, it'll be lifelong."

"Although Cody didn't pull the trigger, Cody was responsible for the murder of my daughter," she added. "His actions and choices caused Angelina's death, and those actions and choices were no accident."

Buchanan said there was nothing he could really do to adequately address the seriousness of Nicholson's crime, but there was something Nicholson could do.

"I don't know if you're capable of it, I hope that you are, but in your future honor her by living a life that is exemplary, proving everybody wrong by living a law-abiding life that takes advantage of every opportunity given to him to go get his education, things she can't do that she was unable to finish because of you," he said.

For more information about this case, check out our earlier posts:

States Ranked by Gun Death Rates

Gun death rates per 100,000 are high in the U.S., and getting higher. Here's a list of states ranked by firearm safety, from lowest death rates to highest. Data for 2021 is from the CDC via Violence Policy Center.

Gallery Credit: Kate Robinson

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