Man receives 29 years in prison for torturing 8-year-old
Saying he would impose a stricter sentence if he could, District Judge Tom Gregory gave a man accused of torturing his girlfriend’s 8-year-old son the maximum 29-year sentence.
Devin Andrew Choate, 27, admitted to five felony counts, admitting that he terrorized the child over the course of three days.
On Monday, Gregory sentenced to Choate to four 6-year prison terms for child abuse or neglect and assault with a deadly weapon and five years for domestic battery with strangulation.
All five charges will run consecutively, with an aggregate of 136-348 months in prison and a $15,000 fine.
Prosecutor AJ Hames said the boy was punched, strangled, had his head held underwater and that Choate put duct tape over the child’s nose and mouth and didn’t remove it until after it was obvious the boy was in danger of suffocating.
Afterwards, Choate told the boy to lie to deputies who were investigating the case. Choate threatened to kill the child, his mother and his grandmother if he told authorities what happened.
The boy’s grandmother, who was the person the boy confided in, said if it were up to her Choate would spend life in prison.
“He did nothing,” she said of her grandson. “How could you have tortured him physically and mentally. Thank God he trusted me when I told him he was safe from you. I can’t shake the feeling that if he hadn’t opened up to me that morning, something more horrific would have happened if they’d gone home.”
The boy’s mother said her son was suffering nightmares that Choate would be released from prison and would come hurt him again.
“He’s not the happy-go-lucky kid he was, but we will get that back no matter what,” she said. “He did nothing wrong. He shouldn’t have to be afraid of Devin ever again.”
Attorney Brian Filter said that Choate witnessed his step-father’s heart attack when he was 9 years old and had two homes burn down in his life.
“What Devin did was terrible,” Filter said. “But this was out of character for him and largely stems from drug abuse and addiction.”
Choate choked up when he spoke.
“What I did was horrible, and I’m so sorry,” he said.
The former Indian Hills resident was already a convicted felon who was serving consecutive 2-5-year prison terms for burglary in a Washoe County case. According to the Nevada Department of Corrections, Choate was paroled in August 2019, less than a year before the July 25-27 incident.
According to court documents, he put a machete up to the boy’s throat and threatened to chop him to bits.