On Feb. 2, Mark Nathaniel “Nate” Anderson entered a plea agreement in order to avoid a trial by jury for the murder of his sister, Tyler Junior College student Amanda Anderson. He plead guilty and will serve 20 years at a Texas adult penitentiary.
Amanda Anderson was shot four times in the head by her brother, who was 15 at the time, in their New Chapel Hill home on Sept. 15, 2010.
“He understands that I am pursuing what I believe to be justice for Amanda,” said Smith County District Attorney Matt Bingham. “In the end, what cannot be forgotten is that Amanda was brutally killed and she’s gone forever, and that cannot get lost in Nate Anderson.”
A surprisingly calm Anderson, now 16, entered Judge Jack Skeen, Jr.’s 241st district court to a packed audience that included reporters, cameras, and curious individuals. His family occupied the front row of the courtroom to await the sentencing.
Convicted as an adult due to the severity of the case, Anderson will enter a facility with similar cases until he turns 18 when he will be taken to an adult penitentiary along side other serious offenders. He will be eligible for parole 10 years into his sentence, having received credit for the year he has served to date.
Brett Harrison and F.R. “Buck” Files, his defense attorneys, concluded that this entire experience was unimaginable for any family. The parents, Mark and Stacie Anderson, were in a difficult situation because both the victim and the offender were their children.
“Their parents would have been happy if we had dismissed the case against Nate Anderson,” said Bingham. “They don’t want their son to go to the penitentiary, but they understand that he did do this and that there are consequences to this.”
Anderson admitted to killing his sister a year ago on Jan. 12, 2011, to psychiatrist Antoinette McGarrahan. He later told his parents, who confirmed in their individual affidavits that he had asked for forgiveness, and they had given it to him.
No one involved in the case wanted a trial. His attorneys saw it in his best interest to refrain from a trial, scheduled for Monday, Feb. 6, and Bingham noted that Anderson gave up his right to his time in court and possibly be acquitted of the crime.
“We believe that this was a good resolution for Nate,” said Harrison. “We believe that this is a resolution that the family understands is best for Nate.”
A press conference following the agreement revealed many burning questions but also kept some to remain forever unknown. According to Harrison, Anderson’s motive for murdering his sister was known to the psychiatrist first, then to the parents and attorneys. However, he did not reveal the motive in discretion to the family.
“He’s going to have a difficult time,” said Harrison. “There have been a lot of difficult conversations and a lot of tears.”
He said that this incident happened to a “good family” and that it is something no one will truly understand. Mark and Stacie Anderson along with their family declined to give statements to the public.
“This is a terrible, terrible, tragic event—terrible for everybody involved,” said Harrison. “Nobody’s a winner today. Everybody’s a loser today, and it’s a terribly sad day, but we believe, and Nate knows, that this is in his best interest.”