A former pastor murdered two neighbors as the result of a long-running feud. Now, the man will spend the rest of his life in prison.
Andrew Cote, a former pastor in Las Vegas, was sentenced to life in prison on Aug. 3 for the killings of Mildred Olivo, 71, and her 54-year-old friend, Timothy Hanson, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
The Las Vegas-Review Journal reported that there was more than decade-old feud between Olivo and Cote, a former pastor at Mountain View Baptist Church.
“This was an incredibly violent murder, and it was one that was absolutely unnecessary,” Chief Deputy District Attorney Pamela Weckerly said during the sentencing hearing.
During the trial, Cote repeatedly claimed he shot into his neighbor's backyard because he believed Olivo and Hanson, who were unarmed were threatening his daughter.
“That was my reality on that night when I had to protect my 9-year-old firstborn daughter from a potential loss of life,” Cote said during sentencing, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Weckerly told the judge that the former pastor had "very little remorse for the killings." According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Cote turned to family in the courtroom and told them he wished "this never would have had to take place."
Cote pleaded that it was self-defense, but a jury convicted him in May. Michael Sanft, Cote's attorney, said that Cote will appeal, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
The shooting took place June 25, 2020.
The neighbors' feud began in 2009, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Both sides called the police on each other and applied for restraining orders. The outlet reported that Cote claimed that Olivo threatened to shoot his wife.
During trial, Cote said that he had found a torn-up photo of Jesus on his porch and that Olivo hung up a white banner that said "Satan" in her yard. The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that hours before the shooting Cote contacted police, saying that Olivo sprayed he and his daughter with a water hose.
That night, according to Cote, Hanson was yelling outside his home. Cote then grabbed his 12-cauge shotgun and went outside. There, he found his daughter in the yard as Hanson told her to "go get your daddy," the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported. Cote admitted that he wasn't planning to speak with Hanson and instead shot both Olivo and Hanson in the head.
Hanson's daughter, Choyce Guice, said she would forgive Cote because of her faith, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
“You should know that I’m not forgiving you for you,” Guice said, crying as she addressed Cote. “But I forgive you for me, so that I can live in peace.”
Cote has the possibility of parole in 56 years.