Carson man sentenced to six months jail time in girlfriend’s choking assault
A Carson City man was sentenced Wednesday to six months in jail after pleading guilty to two misdemeanors in a case originally charged as attempted murder.
David Barber, 24, took an offer of misdemeanor domestic battery and disorderly conduct. In exchange for the plea, Deputy District Attorney Tom Armstrong dropped felony charges of attempted murder and domestic battery with substantial bodily harm.
“This is a startling, violent episode,” said Armstrong in admitting he didn’t have enough evidence to prove Barber intended to kill his 23-year-old girlfriend when he choked her unconscious Oct. 5.
“I’d have to prove he intended to kill her, and with the victim’s subsequent lack of memory and no witnesses, I can’t.”
Armstrong said after the couple spent the evening drinking at a bar, they ended up back at Barber’s Roop Street apartment.
“He choked her repeatedly and punched her in the face,” Armstrong said.
Investigation photographs show the victim’s eyes swollen shut, the insides of her upper and lower lips cut, and blood on her clothing.
Following the incident, she told friend’s and police Barber had choked her until she lost consciousness, but in follow-up conversation with Armstrong she claimed she couldn’t remember, Armstrong said.
“His behavior was lethal,” he added.
Barber told Justice of the Peace John Tatro he doesn’t remember driving home from the east Carson City bar, nor does he recall what happened.
“I guess I hit my girlfriend,” he said. “I got too drunk and out of hand.”
In addition to the six months in jail, Barber was also given a six-month suspended sentence on the disorderly conduct charge.
A hearing is scheduled to determine if his parole will be revoked on a sentence of four years in a burglary in Washoe County for which he served a year in prison. Barber also has a four-month suspended sentence on a drunk-driving charge in Sparks that could also be revoked, Armstrong said.
“You don’t accidentally choke someone until they lose control of their bodily functions,” Tatro said. “If I do anything other than not sentence you to the maximum, I’m not doing my job.”
Tatro also ordered there be no contact between Barber and his girlfriend, who was in court in his support.
When he learned the victim had been visiting Barber in jail despite an earlier admonition of no contact, Tatro addressed her directly.
“You are minimizing what happened,” he said to her gently as she fought back tears. “What happened that night can’t be minimized.”
He urged her to get counseling and if he found proof that she was seeking help, he’d consider allowing her to visit Barber.
“You need some help,” he said.