Man choses prison over boot camp |

Man choses prison over boot camp

A Topaz Ranch Estates man said he’d rather go to prison than take a chance on a regimental discipline program.

Dennis G. Darter, 19, was sentenced to 1-3 years in prison for violating his probation.

Darter was considered a candidate for the program last year, but due to an injured ankle tried the Salvation Army treatment program instead, which he got kicked out of.

“I’m not trying to take the easy way out,” Darter told Judge Michael Gibbons on Monday. “I don’t want to take the chance that I’ll be in boot camp for five months and my ankle gives out and then I have to start the whole thing over again. I’m trying to do this the smart way for me.”

Darter’s action took probation officials and the prosecution by surprise.

“We recommend that he go to boot camp anyway,” said prosecutor Laurie Trotter.

Darter was one of a trio of burglars arrested in Topaz Ranch Estates in December 2010. He admitted to one count of attempted grand larceny of a firearm in April 2011. At the time, he had a chance at having the felony conviction reduced to a gross misdemeanor.

Darter was sentenced to probation in October 2011 after Gibbons waited several months for Darter’s ankle to heal.

In February he was taken into custody after he failed several conditions of probation, including drinking and ignoring curfew. Gibbons then allowed him to enter the Salvation Army treatment program. He got kicked out of that program in June.

Meanwhile an accusation came to light that he’d had sex with a 14-year-old girl after he’d been sentenced in the theft case.

On Monday Gibbons sentenced Darter to six months in jail, running concurrently in that case on a single count of statutory sexual seduction.

He told the judge that he’d known the girl for years and had protected her.

“I was a kid, and I’m still a kid,” he said. “I’m not afraid to go to prison. I just want to get it over with.”

Darter was given credit for 78 days time served. When he is released from prison, he was ordered to pay $300 in fees.

Darter’s attorney Derrick Lopez said he would recommend that Darter register as a sex offender as a result of his conviction of statutory sexual seduction.