Batterer gets 5-year prison term

A Lake Tahoe man who battered his pregnant girlfriend so savagely that he fractured her eye sockets was sentenced Monday to five years in Nevada State Prison.

Anthony Connors, 22, diagnosed as a schizophrenic, cried and wailed so loudly through the proceedings that District Judge Michael Gibbons asked him twice to quiet down.

He sentenced Connors to five years in prison for battery causing substantial bodily harm. Connors must serve 40 percent before he is eligible for probation.

The victim testified for about 10 minutes Monday, chronicling weeks of abuse that ended up with her hospitalization May 6.

"We were in an argument," she said. "I found a friend's phone number in his wallet. He said he was trying to figure out a way to kill me so he could be with her."

The woman said she took the phone to her bedroom and Connors followed her.

"He turned calmly to walk out the door, then he just pummeled me," she said. "He hit me 10 times in less than 15 seconds. I threw the phone at him and he came at me again."

She said her eyes swelled so fast her contacts popped out "and I walked over to the neighbors like a blind person. All this time, I was pregnant and I didn't know it."

She said she has permanent vision damage and still suffers numbness in her face.

The woman said she delayed surgery because of her pregnancy and feared for the health of her unborn child.

"I had a 20-minute CAT scan and was given several X-rays," she said before she knew she was pregnant.

She said the abuse had been going on for weeks.

"I began to hate Saturdays," she said. "I didn't call the police. He was very controlling. He dented the back of my Jeep with his hand and broke at least three doors in our apartment."

Connors' lawyer Terri Steik Roeser said in addition to schizophrenia, her client suffered horrific abuse as a child.

"He was constantly beaten as a child. His father put him in boiling water. His father threw him off a bridge in Reno when he was 14 or 15," she said.

When his parents' rights were terminated, Connors went from foster home to foster home, but still wanted to be with his natural family.

The victim said up until the last incident, she had hoped to maintain a relationship with Connors, especially since she was pregnant. She said they had a marriage certificate, but no license.

Since she began counseling, the victim said her feelings had changed.

"I do love him, but I don't know what the future holds," she said. "I am not willing to put myself at risk to help him."

She said she'd been warned by several police officers if she didn't leave Connors, "they're going to see me in a body bag."

Prosecutor Dina Salvucci noted Connors' outbursts in court and in Douglas County Jail where he's facing two new felony charges for battery on an inmate and spitting at deputies.

"There is a complete and utter inability to supervise this person," she said. "He is a huge danger to this community."

She said at Connors' most recent appearance in Tahoe Township Justice Court he tried to jump into the audience and attack a person sitting next to the victim who had nothing to do with the case.

"He switches from sorrow to rage right in front of everyone," she said.

Connors is to return to Tahoe Township Justice Court today for a hearing on a probation violation.

Connors told the judge he wanted to take care of his family.

"I want to get out and take care of my kid, get a job, do what I'm supposed to do. I'm really sorry. She's the only person in my life who ever cared about me. I don't want to lose her," he said.

Gibbons told Connors if he didn't change, he would be in prison for a long time.

"With the terrible suffering you had as a young person and your mental health issues, it's not surprising you're where you are today. But it's the court's responsibility to protect the public. The best way to do that is to isolate you as long as we can."

Gibbons said he would recommend that Connors be placed in a prison mental health unit.

"I love you," Connors said to the victim as deputies led him back to Douglas County Jail.


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