Child support dodger goes to prison

Anthony Ralph Kerns

Anthony Ralph Kerns

A California man who owes more than $130,000 in back child support was sentenced to 2-5 years in prison on Tuesday.

Anthony Ralph Kerns had to be extradited back to Douglas County three times over the past year.

According to his ex-wife, Kerns has avoided paying child support for most of the 25 years since their divorce.

“Not once has he ever voluntarily paid his child support,” she said.

Prosecutor Chelsea Mazza said that Kerns has always promised in court to pay the child support but hasn’t followed through.

Kerns, who acknowledged he was an alcoholic, said he has made some bad financial decisions over the years.

Earlier this year he had his spleen removed and his liver shaved before being arrested on a Douglas County warrant.

“I’m here to take responsibility,” he said. “I’m trying to clean up my life.”

Attorney Nadine Morton said Kerns talked to her about perhaps getting his commercial drivers license or moving to Idaho.

District Judge Tod Young said that one of the priorities in sentencing child support cases is to get people the money they’re owed, but he said Kerns, who has four prior felony convictions, doesn’t do well on probation.

In addition to the prison time, Kerns still owes $135,448.57 in restitution.

“I want the mother of these children to be paid,” he said.

A 21-year-old Gardnerville man received a suspended 19-48-month prison sentence after he admitted to felony assault with a deadly weapon

Jacob Matthew Olivo Wilson could have faced up to six years in prison, though prosecutors recommended a suspended 2-5-year sentence.

Olivio Wilson admitted to trying to force a vehicle containing his former girlfriend off the road on June 22.

“I made a bad decision and my whole life changed,” he said. “My job, my house, my good relationships, all went away.”

• A man who was facing a 19-48-month prison sentence for drug possession was given an opportunity at treatment on Tuesday.

Joshua Tyler Steen, 32, appeared in Douglas County District Court on a probation violation after he was sentenced Jan. 24.

He failed to check in with parole and probation and was determined to have absconded on April 9, according to prosecutor Nathaniel Smith.

Steen lasted about three months on probation before he was arrested May 15 in Washoe County for trespassing after Sparks Police responded to a burglary call and found him under a vehicle.

He has been in custody since, having been transferred to Douglas on Sept. 7.

Attorney Brian Filter suggested that Steen might spend more time in a treatment program than he would in custody, given the time he’s served in jail. Steen said the death of his mother sent him spiraling.

Observing that Steen had been sober since his arrest, District Judge Tod Young ordered him to remain in custody until he can go to treatment.

“You can honor your mother’s life by changing or tie her memory to your neck and sink to the bottom of a heroin lake,” Young said.

• A Lake Tahoe man, who said he received a gun he wasn’t allowed to have as a payment for installing a gun safe, received a suspended 12-30-month sentence on Tuesday.

Jesus Rosillo Melchor, 41, who was previously convicted of battery said he didn’t realize he couldn’t have the weapon.

California is restoring gun rights to people after 10 years, attorney Thomas Viloria said, so Melchor thought he was clear to have the .22 Browning.

However, prosecutor Chelsea Mazza pointed out that because Melchor was in the country illegally, he wouldn’t have been allowed to have a firearm in any case.

Melchor sought a deferred sentence in the case, but that was denied. He just received a permit to work in the U.S. last month and said he was seeking citizenship, which will likely be hampered by the felony conviction.

• A 70-year-old Gardnerville man was ordered to spend 90 days in jail after he was found guilty of gross misdemeanor abuse of his 96-year-old mother.

Norman Lester Zierenberg said he stepped up when his mother broke her collarbone, but his brother told the judge that Zierenberg prevented other family members from seeing her.

More damning was a video showing Zierenberg throwing a box on his mother who was sitting on the floor.

Prosecutor Jim Sibley said he was taken aback by the defense’s claim that Zierenberg had just faltered in caring for his mother.

“He stepped over his mother and opened the door in December, taunting her, ‘It’s cold outside, Ma,’” Sibley said.

Zierenberg’s brother said his mother was the happiest she’d been when the family came and got her.

• A Sacramento man’s sentencing was delayed in a case where he left his 4-year-old son in a vehicle for more than an hour on April 14.

Attorney Nadine Morton said her client was sufficiently scared by the potential outcome of the case that he immediately started taking parenting classes.

He told the judge that he and his son live behind the barbershop he operates.

He said that he stopped to use the restroom and saw someone win a $14,000 jackpot, prompting him to try his luck instead of getting back to the vehicle.

He was ordered to return on Jan. 23, 2024, with proof he was in counseling.


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