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IDAHO FALLS — Family and friends of shooting victim Nikolas Bird wore custom purple jerseys decorated to remember him as his alleged killer, Mark Bent, attended an arraignment in district court on Monday.
Mark Bent, 41, pleaded not guilty after being charged with first degree murder for the shooting death of 23-year-old Nikolas Todd Bird in September.
On the night of Sept. 3, Idaho Falls Police officers responded to a shooting that occurred on Clair View Lane in Idaho Falls.
A caller had told dispatchers that a man was "laying in the street, and a full-size truck just left the area."
The victim, later identified as Bird, had "several gunshot wounds and was transported to EIRMC where he was later pronounced deceased."
The affidavit says around 11 p.m., dispatchers received a call from a man who said he was Mark Bent and he was turning himself in.
He told police he "shot someone" and identified that person as "Nik Bird" before telling officers that he was at the Albertsons on 17th Street and there was a gun in his truck.
Officers found Bent and arrested him. A gun was located in the passenger seat of his car with ammunition that matched the shell casings in the area where the shooting occurred.
Later, officers were alerted that Bent had seemingly posted a confession on his Facebook page after the shooting.
In the post, Bent states, "I am saddened to say that I have committed some serious crimes today that will put me in jail for the rest of my life."
He wrote that he met Bird through a car-related Facebook group. Bent recently had thoughts about attacking various car-related events around the area due to disagreements with group members.
He writes in the post that his "main goal was to kill Nik Bird."
District Judge Michael Whyte scheduled a status conference in the case for Feb. 21, 2023, and a jury trial for June 12, 2023.
Though Bent has been charged with these crimes, it does not necessarily mean he committed them. Everyone is presumed innocent until they are proven guilty.
If convicted, Bent could face the death penalty or life in prison.