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Steven Jones Sentenced To Six Years For 2015 NAU Campus Shooting

Ryan Heinsius

A former northern Arizona university student was sentenced to six years in prison Tuesday in connection with a 2015 campus shooting that left one student dead and three injured. KNAU’s Ryan Heinsius reports.

Twenty-three-year-old Steven Jones faced up to 10 years in prison, but Judge Dan Slayton sentenced him to six in the death of Colin Brough and five years for each of the three aggravated assault charges he faced, all to be served concurrently.

Prosecutors as well as two of the surviving victims, Kyle Zientek and Nick Piring, had asked for the maximum sentence. Brough’s mother Claudia addressed the judge.

Credit Ryan Heinsius / KNAU
Claudia Brough urged Judge Dan Slayton to hand down the maximum 10-year sentence to Steven Jones. Her son Colin Brough was killed in the 2015 NAU campus shooting.

"I miss him, I miss his smile, I miss his voice, I miss his infectious laugh … I miss hearing about his dreams," Claudia Brough said.

Prosecutors allege Jones acted as the aggressor when he retrieved a handgun from his car and opened fire following a fight.

Jones’ attorneys, however, say their client feared for his life and acted in self-defense after having been attacked. Jones briefly spoke near the end of the hearing.

"If it were possible I would trade places in a heartbeat with Colin Brough. If he could be at home with his family and I could be dead, I would do that," Jones said.

Jones will return to the Coconino County Jail to resume his sentence following a plea deal reached with prosecutors last month.

Ryan Heinsius joined the KNAU newsroom as executive producer in 2013 and was named news director and managing editor in 2024. As a reporter, he has covered a broad range of stories from local, state and tribal politics to education, economy, energy and public lands issues, and frequently interviews internationally known and regional musicians. Ryan is an Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a Public Media Journalists Association Award winner, and a frequent contributor to NPR's Morning Edition, All Things Considered and national newscast.
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