Winnemucca man sentenced for rancher's death

FALLON - A Winnemucca man will spend the next year in the Churchill County Jail for shooting a local rancher in the leg almost two years ago.

District Judge Robert E. Estes also ordered James Bryan Anderson to pay $87,513 in medical bills to rancher Pat Dempsey.

Anderson was found guilty by a jury in June of aiming a firearm at a human being, a gross misdemeanor with a maximum sentence of one year in the county jail.

"If I could, I would frankly and honestly sentence you to more," Judge Estes told Anderson at his sentencing hearing Tuesday.

Anderson shot Dempsey, 54, in the right leg with a .375 Winchester rifle after an argument and fight between the men at Dempsey's Bench Creek Ranch in December 2003. The ranch is 15 miles northeast of Middlegate.

Dempsey testified at the hearing, telling Judge Estes that Anderson has never shown remorse for the crime. Dempsey has undergone numerous surgeries to repair damage to his leg and still uses crutches.

"This has been not only tough on me getting crippled but tough on my family, both financially and emotionally," Dempsey said.

Deputy District Attorney Brandi Jensen, who prosecuted the case at trial, said Anderson was convicted of conspiracy to commit battery with a deadly weapon in 2001 and battery on a police officer in 2002. Since his conviction in Churchill County in June, she said, Anderson has "had two run-ins with law enforcement, one in Pershing County where he threatened to kill an old man.

"We're lucky Pat Dempsey is alive today," she said. "Mr. Anderson has continued on a path of violence and it's clear he cannot control his temper. The residents of Churchill County, as well as surrounding counties, should have the opportunity to have one year of their lives not wondering what Mr. Anderson is going to do next."


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