MANKATO — Court hearings were running behind schedule, as they often do, so Alex Marxen had about an hour to chat with friends and family in a hallway of the Blue Earth County Justice Center before his sentencing hearing Tuesday.
The mood and the conversation were jovial between Marxen and the others outside the courtroom as they waited for Assistant County Attorney Jon Kelm to finish with a hearing in another courtroom. His family said later that they didn't expect the conversation to be Marxen's last, for the next few years, as a free man.
He has been out of jail all but nine days since he was arrested and charged with attempted murder for a shooting in March. After a series of confrontations involving two vehicles full of people, Marxen, 19, got out of a van and aimed a .22 rifle in the direction of two men. He fired at one of the men as he charged toward him outside an Allen Court residence.
Prosecutors dropped the attempted murder charge in September after Marxen agreed to plead guilty to felony charges of assault and participating in a drive-by shooting. Sentencing guidelines called for a prison sentence of at least 48 months, but Marxen was allowed to return to his grandparents' home near Madison Lake where he had been on house arrest since his release. Two teens who were with Marxen during the incident pleaded guilty to drive-by shooting charges and were sentenced in juvenile court.
With Marxen's faded leather jacket folded over her arm, his mother, Ramona Malecha, said after the hearing that she was expecting her son to leave with her Tuesday. Otherwise she would have had him empty his pockets and leave his coat in the car.
"They didn't make the other guys go to jail right away and his house arrest has another five days left on it," she said. "He's not a bad kid. That's the worst thing. Everybody that knows him knows he's not a bad person."