A Gardnerville Ranchos teenager apologized on Tuesday to a woman he darted and assured her that the dart wasn’t dipped in anything.
The teenager admitted to using a blowgun to fire a 4-inch metal dart at the woman.
“The people who know him were shocked when they heard about this,” Defense attorney Derrick Lopez said. “This was completely out of character for him. He feels badly about what he did.”
Lopez said the boy came forward and admitted what happened in the April 28 incident.
He acknowledged there were other reports of attacks, but said his client was only involved in the one of which he was accused.
“He was using a blowgun sold at Walmart that was a popular item among young kids,” Lopez said.
Prosecutor Zack Wadle said the random nature of the attack concerned him.
“This act was cowardly and despicable,” he said. “But the defendant has taken responsibility for it.”
Both Wadle and Lopez agreed with a recommendation that the boy be placed on probation.
The boy turned and reassured victim Susan Menneally that he hadn’t poisoned or treated the dart in any way.
“I took it right out of the package,” he said.
Menneally was in court on Tuesday, having written a letter to the judge about the incident, which occurred while she was gardening. The dart struck her in the back less than an inch from her spine.
“I truly am sorry for what I did,” the boy told her.
Both his mother and father also apologized to her as well.
District Judge Tod Young said he believed the 16-year-old’s parents did what they were supposed to do under the circumstances.
“His parents exhibited behavior from the beginning that is exactly what we would want from our neighbors,” Young said.
He told the boy that whether he’s driving, or going to the store, or whatever he is doing he must think before he acts.
“Use your life to make other people’s lives better,” Young said. “From your history I believe you are a good kid, but your really screwed up this time.”
The boy was sentenced to formal probation, and must serve 48 hours community service.
Young ordered him to attend a victims’ impact panel, so he could see what happens when people are careless. The boy was also ordered to maintain a “C” average or above.
“There is no reason you should have a “C” in English,” Young said.