A 22-year-old Fallon man avoided a prison sentence Tuesday in District Court on a domestic violence charge.
Lee Zamzow received a suspended sentence of 19-48 months and placed up to five years of probation stemming from a child abuse incident in January 2013. He must also serve 10 consecutive weekends in the Churchill County Jail and pay a $1,000 fine.
He was slated to go to trial earlier this year but changed his plea to no contest on one count of attempt to commit battery constituting domestic violence by strangulation. The charge is either a gross misdemeanor or Category E felony, also known as a wobbler. Judge Tom Stockard, though, ruled Zamzow would be sentenced as a felon because Zamzow’s “conduct was outrageous.”
He was initially charged with abuse, neglect or endangerment of a child, a Category B felony, but Zamzow worked a plea deal through his attorney, Steve Evenson.
Zamzow was arrested after police were alerted to him shooting a 5-year-old girl more than 20 times with an Air Soft gun. Zamzow is dating the child’s mother, although he is not the girl’s biological father.
Churchill County Chief Deputy District Attorney Lane Mills said Zamzow shot the child because she “lied and was disrespectful” to him.
Zamzow, though, was backed by numerous family members including the victim’s mother, with whom he lives with. In addition, the child’s mother’s parents gave testimony saying he has made amends, worked hard in counseling, parenting classes and maturing, thus does not deserve a prison sentence.
Stockard said testimony by the two paternal grandparents plus another close relative was a factor in avoiding a prison sentence.
Mills, meanwhile, stressed Stockard to send Zamzow to prison for abusing the child. Mills presented numerous photos to witnesses of the bruises, which covered the girl’s arms, hands, torso, buttocks and one foot.
In addition, he said Zamzow initially denied any wrongdoing to police after the incident. Mills also chided the child’s mother for not reporting the incident immediately. He asked for a sentenced of four years.
Evenson, meanwhile, hammered the prosecution, department of Parole and Probation and the Division of Child and Family Services for confusing orders stemming from Zamzow’s reintroduction to the family.
He said the Parole and Probation ordered no contact with the victim, while DCFS over the past several months has allowed Zamzow supervised visits. He does live with the child and her mother under her supervision. Zamzow’s supervised visits started with minimal contact and worked its way up to overnight stays.
Evenson said his client has turned a corner and has become a responsible man.
Nevertheless, the child’s relatives echoed one another in Zamzow’s turn around. They said he has developed patience, is a good person, loves the child and is considered to be the child’s father. All, though, admitted what he did was unacceptable.
The girl’s mother, meanwhile, also said Zamzow “has changed so much,” but also said what was done was “absolutely foolish.”
She denied claims made by Mills that Zamzow entered counseling and other programs in fear of a prison sentence. She said Zamzow did so because he feared of losing his family.