Batterers get one year in jail, must pay $7,000 |

Batterers get one year in jail, must pay $7,000

by Sheila Gardner

Two teen-agers who admitted beating a newspaper deliveryman at an Indian Hills market were each sentenced Monday to one year in Douglas County Jail.

In sentencing the pair to jail, District Judge Michael Gibbons ordered the 16-year-old boys to pay nearly $7,600 restitution for wages lost to the victim while he recovered from his injuries.

Gibbons sentenced Dustin P. Miller and Christian DeLaTorre to 10 years in Nevada State Prison, suspended, and placed each teen-ager on five years probation. They must serve one full year in Douglas County Jail. Each has served 205 days in jail since their arrest Sept. 20.

The pair pleaded guilty in March to battery with the intent to commit robbery, a felony. They were arrested following a September 1997 attack on Carson City resident Michael Santi, who was folding newspapers in an Indian Hills parking lot. Santi suffered a broken arm and other injuries.

A third man, Archie Elmer Jessmer Jr., 18, pleaded guilty to being an accessory to the crime because he stood by during the attack but took Santi’s wallet. He was sentenced to a year in jail as part of a probation term, but he could also go to prison if he violates other probation conditions.

In addition, Miller was sentenced to an additional 30 days in the Carson City detention center after he admitted a battery charge in juvenile court for a fight at Douglas High School which occurred the day before the burglary and robbery at Indian Hills.

The victim, Michael Santi, was not present in court Monday, but both boys apologized for their actions.

“I apologize. I made a mistake that I’m going to regret for the rest of my life,” said Miller.

“This is a difficult situation,” said Gibbons. “With the extent of the injury to the victim, there has to be significant retribution. But I’m also taking into account the age of the defendants, the lack of their prior record and the fact that an adult initiated the crime.”

Gibbons said he regretted that Jessmer received a lesser charge under the theory that he was not as involved in the assault as the 16-year-olds.”It appears to the court that was a mistake. He was not deserving of that leniency,” Gibbons said. “I hope you two can turn your lives around.”

Because of the seriousness of the crime, the boys were treated as adults in the court system which means they could be sent to prison rather than a youth training facility.

As part of their probation, Miller and DeLaTorre are subject to unannounced search and seizure for stolen property, weapons, controlled substances and alcohol. They must perform 100 hours of community service and complete their high school educations with a diploma or the general equivalency. They each are to reimburse Douglas County $200 for attorney’s fees and are forbidden to have contact with each other or any adult or juvenile who is on probation or parole.

If they violate their probation, the pair must serve a minimum of two years in Nevada State Prison before they are eligible for parole.

“I gave you a long prison sentence to encourage both of you to stick to the law,” Gibbons said.

Attorney Tod Young, who represented Miller, said the youth looked up to Jessmer as an adult figure in his life.

“This is a kid who didn’t start out in life on the same footing as we did,” said Young. “Two weeks after his arrest, Dustin’s mother was released from prison. His father is in Hawaii and has never once called my office to see about his son.”

He said Miller has a lot of potential and got involved in “something that was way over his head. He had no idea what the consequences would be.”

DeLaTorre’s attorney, Terri Steik-Roeser, said it was difficult to reconcile the conduct with the defendant she has come to know over the past seven months.

“There is a lot of good in Christian DeLaTorre,” she said. “He’s a bright young man and I hate to see his entire life thrown away.”

She said what could appear to be a lack of remorse in DeLaTorre masks shyness.

“He is not outgoing or gregarious, but he shows a great deal of insight and concern,” Roeser said.

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