Man sentenced to prison in ‘horrific beating’ against 90-pound woman
June 7, 2018
A Gardnerville man who was found guilty of felony battery causing substantial bodily harm in April was sentenced Wednesday morning to 1-4 years in prison.
On Jan. 2, 2017, after helping the victim move, Donald Douglas Eby, 60, got into an argument with the victim, and claimed she began throwing some of his items around his kitchen.
Fearing for the state of his possessions, he repeatedly punched the 90-pound woman in the face, zip-tied her wrists, and slammed her head against the ground.
The victim was found battered, wearing only a bathrobe, underwear, and a zip tie around her wrists.
According to court documents, the victim was able to escape after Eby said he was going to get some duct tape, and he was going to tape up everything on her body except for her genitals. She played dead, and when he went to the garage for the tape, she ran and was found by passers-by at the end of the road.
Jurors had deliberated for three hours after a four-day trial before finding him guilty of battery, but innocent for the charge of coercion.
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At sentencing, Eby's attorneys argued it was an isolated incident, brought on by alcohol. "It was 60 seconds that has substantially affected both parties," they said. "A significant consequence for Mr. Eby is that he now has to be registered as a felon."
They asked for probation, citing that Eby had been a "perfect example" during his time out on bail.
"I'm sorry (the victim) was hurt," Eby said in a statement to the court. "It was not my intention to hurt her, or anyone."
"It's not a question as to whether the defendant would be a good candidate for probation," said prosecuting attorney Eric Levin, "but whether he deserves probation. With this level of violence, prison is appropriate."
Shown during the sentencing were two photographs taken from the night of the incident, one of the victim's wrist tied with a zip tie so tight the black plastic could barely be seen, and in another, the victim's face, her eyes "filled with anguish."
Three victim impact statements were given, one from the victim, and two from the victim's sisters. The defense attempted to object to the sisters' testimonies, but they were overruled.
"'The past is a place of reference, not a place of residence,'" one of the victim's sisters quoted in her statement. "My sister may never again be able to apply the message 'don't live in the past' to her life."
She went on to describe the victim's constant night terrors, the multiple surgeries she has undergone since the attack, and the fact that her body is no longer functioning properly because of it.
She also said the victim was beaten so savagely in the face that all of her teeth had to be pulled out, and she can no longer eat solid food.
"My sister now lives with constant pain, shame, and humiliation. My only hope is that one day, she may be able to live in the present."
Her eldest sister also gave a statement.
"This man, who tried to kill my sister, has been free for one and a half years, while she's been living in a prison of fear," she said.
The victim spoke last, visibly shaking.
"This man tried to kill me," she told the court. "He had no intention of letting me leave that night. You saw the tape, you saw the zip ties. He pulled it right out of his pocket."
She then turned to Eby, and her voice grew louder. "You don't deserve to be free," she told him.
District Court Judge Thomas Gregory asked her to take a minute and collect herself so she could continue.
"It hurts to cry now," she said.
Gregory went on with the sentencing after the victim impact statements.
"Some things in your favor," he told Eby, "is your age, and your lack of a violent criminal history. You followed all terms and conditions on bail. However, this was a case going into trial that the injuries weren't disputed. The victim in this case was terribly injured. It wasn't disputed that you were the perpetrator, and that you inflicted those horrific injuries. You can see even today how she suffered, and how she continues to suffer."
It was decided that due to the significance of the violence in the crime, probation was denied.
"However, due to the factors I stated before, the sentence has been decreased. The range I could sentence someone in this crime is 1-5 years."
Eby was sentenced to 48 months in prison, with minimum parole at 12.
He was given credit for time served for two days, and his previously posted bail was exonerated.
The victim has filed a civil case against Eby for her medical bills, as well as for pain and suffering, which is still pending.