Stalker sentenced to 15 years in prison |

Stalker sentenced to 15 years in prison

by Sheila Gardner

A 31-year-old Gardnerville man, previously convicted of battering an 11-year-old girl, was sentenced Monday to 15 years in prison for stalking his former girlfriend, and threatening a deputy with a knife.

District Judge Michael Gibbons sentenced David Springer to 10 years for aggravated stalking and five years for assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer, to be served consecutively.

Gibbons set minimum sentences of four years and two years on each offense.

He also imposed a 20-year-extended protection order which forbids Springer from having any contact with the victim or family members, or being near their residences and places of employment.

Earlier, Gibbons denied Springer’s motion to withdraw his guilty plea. The defendant claimed he was coerced into entering a plea agreement with the district attorney’s office.

Gibbons cited the extensive questioning which Springer underwent at his change of plea in February, and the defendant’s admissions that he understood the charges and the consequences of his plea.

The judge said he observed Springer very closely, and while the defendant didn’t like pleading guilty, he displayed no signs of coercion.

Springer has been in jail on $100,000 bail since April 7, 2012, and was given credit for 408 days in custody.

The victim testified at a preliminary hearing in August 2012 that she began dating Springer about a year before, and he moved in with her in September 2011.

That was shortly after he was released from prison on the child abuse charge, June 19, 2011.

The woman said she was unaware of Springer’s criminal history.

She said the relationship turned violent, and she suffered frequent beatings which left her bruised all over her body.

She said he also pulled out her hair and assaulted her sexually.

The woman said she endured the abuse because Springer threatened to kill her and her family if she told.

Springer was arrested after the woman’s family members became suspicious and managed to get her out of the house on a ruse that she was having coffee with her sister who was visiting from out of town.

Springer’s 2012 victim testified Monday that she continued to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, was on medication and had to cut her work hours.

“I can’t sleep at night. I look over my shoulder all the time. I still don’t feel safe even with him behind bars for a year,” she testified, wiping tears from her eyes.

Gibbons ruled Monday that the stalking was sexually motivated.

He said in the 2008 case, Springer was classified as low risk to reoffend in the sexual abuse of a child.

“This (2012) case, the charge included sexual abuse as part of the aggravated stalking. Now, this court makes the finding that it was a sexually motivated offense,” Gibbons said.

“You now have three felonies: child abuse, aggravated stalking and assault with a deadly weapon against a police officer. That is a horrendous record. If you are ever in court again, you can expect the maximum, or even a habitual criminal enhancement,” Gibbons said.

Springer apologized for what he said were bad decisions.

“I am an adult. I should have made better choices,” he said. “I want to take this time to apologize (to the victim). I am sorry. I was wrong, even if we can’t come to an agreement on what exactly happened in this case.”

Springer said he considered his time in custody “a gift,” and had spent time meditating.

His lawyer, Jamie Henry, said her client wanted to enroll in college and become a scientist.

“He really wants to better his life,” she said.

“You terrorized an innocent child in your last case. You received the maximum sentence and no parole,” Gibbons said. “This case began shortly after you got out of prison. Your conduct exposes people to extreme harm.”

In December 2008, Springer was sentenced by Gibbons to six years in Nevada State Prison for child abuse with credit for 268 days in custody. The judge imposed the maximum sentence.

The victim, who was 11, testified at Springer’s sentencing before Gibbons in 2009 that he hit her in the stomach, kicked her in the back and threw her to the floor.

Gibbons said Monday that Springer served his entire sentence on the 2008 charge and was not paroled.