Convicted arsonist, vandal gets six months in jail for mail thefts

Amy Lisenbe/Nevada Appeal

Amy Lisenbe/Nevada Appeal

A convicted arsonist and vandal received six months in jail on Tuesday for taking part in the theft of mail in December from Carson City boxes.

Judge Bill Maddox gave David Scott Killen, 23, credit for 50 days time served, and sentenced Killen to an additional 120 days in jail to commence after he completes one year in the Douglas County Jail for a window-shooting spree in February 2006. Killen previously served two years in prison on a Douglas County arson charge.

"If I were still the U.S. attorney you would be prosecuted in the federal system for a felony," said Maddox.

Federal prosecutors declined to charge Killen, co-defendant Dylan Gregory and alleged accomplice Tristan Ledford with a federal crime.

"I don't know what you're thinking to do these things, this is just pure stupid if you ask me ... Sooner or later, we'll start putting you in prison and just forget about you."

Killen pleaded guilty in April to gross misdemeanor opening, reading or publishing a sealed letter or telegram. The most he could have received was one year in jail.

According to court documents, on Dec. 9, Killen, Dylan Gregory, 22, and Tristan Ledford, 19, were spotted by a homeowner rifling through mailboxes

When police pulled their vehicle over, Killen was at the wheel, and Gregory and Ledford were passengers.

Mail found inside the vehicle and statements made after their arrests indicated the trio was looking for credit card applications and holiday cards containing money, according to court records.

No charges were filed against Ledford. Gregory pleaded to one count of gross misdemeanor opening, reading or publishing a sealed letter or telegram and was sentenced to three years probation.

Killen was out on bail and two days away from being sentenced in the window shootings when he was arrested in the mail theft.

Assistant District Attorney Gerald Gardner asked during Tuesday's hearing that Maddox sentence Killen to the maximum one-year in jail.

"Mr. Killen doesn't show any signs of stopping and the people of Carson City shouldn't have to wait for him to grow up," said Gardner.

Killen pleaded with the judge to let him serve his sentence at the same time as the Douglas County term. He said he plans to move to Elko where he can find work.

"I'm asking due to the fact that now my 3-year-old's mother is definitely going to prison. I have a responsibility I didn't know about," he said.

Killen is now married and also has an 11-month-old child.

His attorney Ben Walker said his client's ex-girlfriend pleaded guilty Monday to a drug trafficking charge, which leaves Killen as the sole provider for his eldest child.

"Were you worried about it when you were driving around shining a light in people's post office boxes," asked Maddox.

"I'm sorry for what I did do. I can't take it back. I did it," said Killen. "In the last two years I've had two arrests since my incarceration in prison. Both times I was under the influence, which isn't an excuse 'cause I'm the one who did the drugs to be under influence."

"What does that tell you?" asked the judge.

"That I need to get some help to not do drugs," said Killen.

In closing, Maddox offered his assessment on the sentence.

"In my mind, 18 months in the county jail is probably equivalent to three years in the Nevada State Prison. It's just a lousy sentence to serve."

• Contact reporter F.T. Norton at ftnorton@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1213.

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