Pointing gun at officer earns man four-year prison term | NevadaAppeal.com

Pointing gun at officer earns man four-year prison term

Kurt Hildebrand, Managing Editor

A man who pointed a gun at a Carson City deputy was sentenced to spend more than four years in Nevada State Prison.

Richard L. Strickland, 30, received 20 to 72 months on charges of assault on a police officer with a deadly weapon and being an ex-felon in possession of a fire arm. A third charge of damage to jail property won Strickland a third sentence of 12 to 48 months.

It will be 52 months before Strickland is eligible for parole.

Judge Bill Maddox made all three of Strickland’s sentences run consecutively after hearing testimony from Carson City deputy Mike Cullin that he had feared for his life.

Cullin testified that he and two other investigators were looking for a stolen air conditioner on Jan. 18 at a Clear Creek address when they found an all-terrain vehicle that matched the description of one that was stolen.

One of the officers spotted Strickland running out the back, and all three began a mile-long chase.

Cullin said that at one point during the chase, Strickland slowed down and drew a .38 Taurus revolver, then ducked behind a truck.

“He stood up and pointed the weapon at me,” Cullin said. “I fired three times as I advanced on his position. I was scared. I have no doubt that if I’d given him the opportunity, he would not have hesitated to take my life.”

A deputy with 10 years experience, Cullin told the court he believed Strickland was one of the most violent offenders he has dealt with over the years.

The damage to Strickland’s jail cell occurred Feb. 21 when the inmate pried loose a stool that was bolted to the floor and used it against the window of his cell.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Anne Langer described the incident as a potential “Shawshank Redemption,” a movie in which the lead character dug his way out of his cell.

“He ripped up a stool that had been bolted down and started digging away at the cement around the window,” she said in arguing for the maximum on all three charges. “There is a whole society of people who live in jail. If they learn there are no consequences to their actions it will be difficult for the people who have to deal with them. Mr. Strickland has earned this.”

Maddox told Strickland he was lucky not to be up on federal charges.

“I don’t know why you would possess a weapon and then even begin to display it at a law enforcement officer,” Maddox said.

Strickland faced a maximum sentence of 28 to 72 months on the assault and weapons charges.

Strickland had been released from prison in 2000.