Sutter County Superior Court Judge Susan Green sentenced a Colusa man to 15 years to life in prison for the second-degree murder of the man’s 10-year-old son in a DUI crash in April 2020.

Tony Daniel Kesterson, 31, pleaded no contest to second-degree murder in September as part of a stipulated plea agreement with the Sutter County District Attorney’s Office. On April 19, 2020, Tony Kesterson was traveling eastbound on Highway 20 in a 2007 Ford Fusion at a high rate of speed with his son Nathan Kesterson in the car. East of South Tarke Road, Tony Kesterson lost control, drove across the westbound lane and collided into a concrete divide. The vehicle came to rest directly in front of a 2014 Toyota Tacoma whose driver was unable to stop in time and collided with the Ford. Nathan Kesterson was pronounced dead at the scene.

The DA’s office filed charges of second-degree murder, gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, driving under the influence causing death or injury, child endangerment, and a misdemeanor count of driving with a suspended license in June 2020. He was arrested and has been in custody since June 26, 2020.

Some people in court on Friday wore shirts with Nathan Kesterson’s name on them and the phrase “Forever 10.” Nathan Kesterson’s mother Jamie Nisperos made an impact statement in court with a large photo of her son displayed on an easel in the courtroom. She said Tony Kesterson was with Nathan Kesterson for the weekend based on court ordered visitation rights.

“You killed our son,” Nisperos said. “... This shouldn’t have happened.”

Nisperos said Tony Kesterson was behind on his child support payments and owes her thousands of dollars. She said she’ll forgive herself for the pain caused from losing her son but will never be able to forgive Tony Kesterson.

“I never got to say goodbye to him,” Nisperos said. “... I don’t feel sorry for you.”

Nisperos called Nathan Kesterson her “best helper” and her “best friend.”

Tony Kesterson’s attorney Mark Van Den Huevel said his client wished to make a statement. Before speaking, Tony Kesterson took a long pause and rubbed his forehead with his left hand.

“I’m sorry to Nathan’s family and to Nathan,” he said through tears. “... It hurts me everyday to know that he’s gone and that my mistakes caused it.”

Prior to remanding Tony Kesterson to state prison, Green provided additional information about the crash. She said Tony Kesterson was driving around 90 miles per hour prior to the collision, was passing over double yellow lines to pass multiple cars at a time, was flipping off drivers as he passed, and had a blood alcohol level of 0.20 (the legal limit in California is 0.08). Green commended Tony Kesterson on accepting responsibility by entering the plea but advised him that he should never drink again.

He will serve a minimum of 15 years in prison before being eligible to apply for release on parole. 

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