Week before sentencing, defendant gets new attorney
April 2, 2013
District Judge Michael Gibbons appointed a new attorney Monday for a 31-year-old Gardnerville man one week before he was to be sentenced for stalking his ex-girlfriend, and threatening a deputy with a knife.
David Springer's attorney, Matt Ence, withdrew from the case after he said his client made "outrageous, false and malicious" accusations against him.
Ence did not elaborate on the specifics.
In a motion, he told Gibbons when he went to see Springer last week, his client gave him a note that said he was fired.
Gibbons told Springer that since Ence had been appointed to represent him, he didn't have the authority to dismiss the lawyer.
Gibbons pointed out that Ence had been working on the case for "months and months," and that no other attorney knew as much as he did.
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"I just want a chance at a fair trial," Springer said. "I don't believe I have had that in any way, shape or form."
Last February, a week before Springer was to go on trial, he changed his plea to guilty.
In a two-hour hearing that day, Springer admitted the felonies which carry a maximum sentence of 21 years in Nevada state prison and a $10,000 fine.
He pleaded guilty to aggravated stalking, and assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer.
In exchange for Springer's guilty plea, both sides have agreed to recommend mid-level sentences of 4-10 years on the stalking charge, and 1-6 on the assault charge, to be served consecutively.
Lesser felony charges of intimidating or dissuading a victim from reporting a crime, and domestic battery by strangulation were dismissed.
Springer, who served time in prison for child abuse stemming from a 2008 case, could be eligible for probation.
Gibbons advised Springer that the sentence is up to the judge, no matter what the plea agreement says.
Springer has been in jail on $100,000 bail since April 7, 2012.
Gibbons appointed Jamie Henry to represent Springer.
"He (Springer) seems to be asking for a continuance in a roundabout way, and also mentioned a trial," Gibbons said Monday.
His next scheduled court appearance is April 8, the original sentencing date.
The victim testified at a preliminary hearing in August that she began dating Springer about a year before, and he moved in with her in September 2011.
She said the relationship turned violent, and she suffered frequent beatings at his hands which left her bruised all over her body.
She said he also pulled out her hair.
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.
Springer was reluctant in February to admit any wrongdoing, as required by the plea agreement. That prompted prosecutor Laurie Trotter to ask to rescind the agreement and proceed with trial.
Gibbons questioned Springer extensively about the events of the day he was arrested, and the four months of the couple's relationship.
He denied the victim's allegations that he struck and kicked her, and pulled out her hair.
Springer had trouble explaining what happened when a sheriff's deputy came to his apartment to investigate the domestic battery.
Springer said he threatened to injure the victim and her son, and knew she was frightened of him because she had suffered abuse in the past at the hands of another man.
He also admitted threatening the deputy with the knife.
In December 2008, Springer was sentenced to six years in Nevada State Prison for child abuse.
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.