Jail term suspended in attempt to dissuade witness
May 24, 2011
A 24-year-old Genoa man who admitted trying to talk his girlfriend out of testifying against him in a domestic battery case was sentenced Tuesday to one year in Douglas County Jail.
District Judge Dave Gamble suspended the sentence against Wesley Weigand and placed him on two years probation.
“It appears to me you think you can just run the world the way you want, and normal rules other people have to follow don’t apply to you,” Gamble said.
“If you don’t change the way you’re living, you’ll be in front of people like me all your life.”
Weigand pleaded guilty in East Fork Justice Court to misdemeanor battery that constitutes domestic violence and was sentenced to 30 days in jail.
After he was recorded on a jail phone calling the victim and urging her not to testify against him, he was charged with dissuading a witness, a gross misdemeanor.
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Prosecutor Karen Dustman read notes from a transcript of the conversation that took place in February.
Weigand is quoted as telling the victim not to talk to an investigator and that if she doesn’t show up, the charge against him will be dropped.
He reportedly told her that she wouldn’t get in trouble.
Weigand’s lawyer Derrick Lopez said it was clear his client was trying to dissuade the witness, but there was no threat to her.
“It’s clear he’s sending a message to her, but you hear no threats of harm to her if she chooses to testify,” Lopez said.
Lopez also asked Gamble to lift a “no contact” order because he said the couple wanted to be together. In the conversation, Weigand refers to their upcoming marriage and desire to be a family.
Dustman, referring to the couple’s relationship as “very volatile – a spark and TNT,” asked Gamble to leave the order in place until he heard from the victim.
Gamble ordered Weigand to remain in counseling for the entire two-year term of his probation. The domestic battery conviction requires 26 weeks of counseling.
He must abstain from alcohol and all drugs unless prescribed.
Gamble said if Weigand violates any term of his probation in justice court or district court, he must appear in district court.
Gamble left it up to the Department of Parole and Probation whether to lift the “no contact” order pending a request from the victim. He asked the agency to report any change to law enforcement and the district attorney’s office.