Teenager receives dozen years in prison
October 8, 2018
After stealing a rifle and selling it to a gang member and then punching a deputy during an altercation in the jail, 19-year-old Michael Cota Jr. asked a judge for probation or perhaps even boot camp.
He got up to a dozen years in prison and was ordered to pay restitution for the gun.
District Judge Tom Gregory said he took Cota's youth into consideration, but that the violence was a factor in sentencing Cota to 24-72 months for battery on a peace officer.
Gregory sentenced Cota to 16-72 months in prison for principal to grand larceny of a firearm. Cota was given credit for 206 days time served.
Reno attorney John Malone argued that Cota was introduced to marijuana and methamphetamine by his father, who went to prison when Cota was 10.
When he acted out his mother contacted authorities.
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"His parenting was pre-empted by the juvenile justice system," Malone said. "He has been on a grab bag of psychoactive medication over the years and they don't seem to have done him any good."
Prosecutor Matt Johnson played video of the altercation in the jail, where Cota threatened two deputies during the July 6 altercation.
He also played phone messages in which Cota tells someone that he could get diversion if he says he has a drug habit.
Cota received the maximum sentence for the battery.
The theft occurred on Feb. 13, when Cota and a 14-year-old climbed into a Kings Lane home through a window and made off with a customized AR-15. Cota contacted another man, Robert D. Brown, who was also sentenced on Monday, who put him in touch with a gang member who purchased the weapon.
Brown received a suspended 364-day jail sentence for conspiracy to commit theft.
Both Brown and Cota are liable for $969.18 in restitution for the cost of the weapon.