David Scott Killen, out of jail after serving time in Carson City and Douglas County for vandalism, received probation Wednesday for battery on a prisoner that occurred while he was incarcerated.
Killen, 24, of Carson City, pleaded guilty to battery and received a suspended six-month sentence.
"I probably have made a mistake," said East Fork Justice Pro Tem Paul Gilbert. "I hope you can make it on probation. Try raising your family. Seven or eight years from now, I hope your baby doesn't start up through the (criminal justice) system."
Killen was accused of battering a prisoner on Aug. 14 while he was in Douglas County Jail.
He told Gilbert he tried to have the case handled while he was in jail so he could serve any extra time before he was released but was unsuccessful.
Killen served 18 months in custody for shooting out windows in Douglas County and Carson City. While awaiting sentencing on that charge, Killen and two others stole mail from Carson City mailboxes and served more time for that conviction.
He was released from Carson City Jail on Nov. 6 and appeared in district court Nov. 10 to set up a payment schedule for restitution. He was in justice court Wednesday on the battery charge.
Killen asked for probation so he could stay with his family. He told Gilbert he had a job and his employer was aware of his criminal past and willing to help him pay restitution and find a permanent residence.
"This is the first week in a year-and-a-half that I've had with my son. We've started to bond. I am on the last chance with my family," Killen said.
He said he was dogged by his well-publicized criminal past.
"It's like, 'Beware. I'm home,'" he said. "I get looked at as the biggest piece of crap in the world and I was."
Killen was convicted of felony arson in 2003 and sent to Nevada State Prison after he violated probation on that charge.
Special Prosecutor Kelly Werth from the Carson City District Attorney's Office argued Wednesday against giving Killen probation.
"In my two years as a prosecutor, I can't think of a more disruptive, negative influence on Carson City and Douglas County than Mr. Killen," Werth said.
"I was at his 2007 arraignment and heard him say the exact same thing. He victimizes communities. He had that baby at the time and it didn't make a difference. The bottom line is that the community is a better, safer place when Mr. Killen is out of it," Werth said.
Lawyer Tod Young, who has represented Killen since he was 8, said "it truly has taken Mr. Killen years to grow months.
"He has reached a point where he has gone out, got a job and made himself part of a regular community, not the inmate community," Young said. "He wants to be a father."
Killen was accused of hitting a prisoner, an incident Young characterized as more of a slap.
Killen told Gilbert he asked the victim to clean up a mess the inmate left on a table in the jail.
"He (the victim) made an offensive comment and advanced toward me. I pushed him back," Killen said.
Gilbert said the fact that the incident occurred before Killen was released went into his decision to give him probation.
"This is very tough. If I look at the crime, in the big scheme of things, it's not that egregious, but I have to take your criminal history into consideration. It was not a crime you committed since you were out of custody. If I throw you back in jail, the few things you've got going for you now will be lost," Gilbert said.
He placed Killen on probation for a year. He is subject to search and seizure, must abstain from drugs and alcohol and be employed.
"At some point, you're either going to prison for the rest of your life, or you're going to decide to be a father," Gilbert said.