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November 1, 2012
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Couple ignores 'no-contact' order

A 48-year-old Ruhenstroth man was ordered Wednesday to serve 60 days in Douglas County Jail, and warned that if he and his fiancee continued to contact each other, he would spend 11 months in custody.

Edward Henry Lahnala Jr., told East Fork Judge Tom Perkins if the woman wasn't allowed to live at his residence, she would be homeless.

Both prosecutor Laurie Trotter, and Lahnala's attorney Joey Gilbert of Reno, told Perkins the couple's relationship was toxic and they feared for her safety.

"I have to back up Ms. Trotter that the relationship is toxic," Gilbert said. "I think there's a probability if they stayed together, he'll be back in here doing a year."

Lahnala said he and the victim were working out the problems in their relationship.

"I know we were meant to be together. We're soul mates," he said.

Lahnala pleaded guilty to domestic battery involving the woman stemming from an incident in September. In exchange for his plea, the state dismissed a charge of false imprisonment.

Lahnala was taken into custody on Oct. 19 when he fought with Department of Alternative Sentencing Chief Michael Beam who was making a probation check.

He also damaged Beam's vehicle, and tested positive for controlled substances.

Trotter told Perkins that the couple had ignored the no-contact order.

She said there had been 86 phone calls between the two of them, and they were recorded by the jail system collaborating on their testimony.

"Everybody's been referring to me as the victim," the woman told Perkins. "There are two victims. I do take responsibility for my action. A temporary restraining order is not an option."

She told Perkins she didn't believe they would continue to fight.

"I don't see it happening again. We're working on a resolution. I see us coming out the other side," she said.

Perkins sentenced Lahnala to 60 days in custody for resisting arrest, with credit for time served.

In addition he was sentenced to 90 days for destruction of property, consecutive to the 60 days, and six months for domestic battery, all suspended for two years.

"This is almost like a self-fulfilling prophecy," Perkins said. "You find it very difficult to comply with supervision. You don't think the laws apply to you. You have to do what people tell you to."

He forbid Lahnala to have any contact with the victim while he's in jail.

"If you contact her while you're in jail, you will do 11 months. I can't enforce a 'no contact' order when you get out. You need to engage in couples' counseling, or one of you will end up hurting the other, and end up in prison," Perkins said.

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The Record Courier Updated Nov 1, 2012 02:34PM Published Nov 1, 2012 02:32PM Copyright 2012 The Record Courier. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.