Crystal Sanders pled guilty to conspiracy to commit coercion in connection with a 2007 Sparks beating. After her sentencing Friday in Reno, Sanders’ 12-month jail sentence will be suspended and she will be on probation for three years, spend 90 days in jail, attend counseling and have no contact with the beating victim.
On the evening of Aug. 29, 2007, Dennis Smith was beaten in a Sparks park by three men as junior league football players practiced nearby. Sanders is Smith’s ex-wife and was accused of conspiring against Smith in the attack.
Sanders is the last of five defendants to give their pleas in Washoe County District court. All of the defendants have been sentenced except for Kathryn Sue Sonner, 20, who plead guilty to driving the men to the park where they carried out the attack.
On Aug. 29, Sonner drove three men to Oppio Park where they pummeled Sparks resident Smith with a machete, shovel handle and lead pipe while he was at a football practice for his son. Sonner pled guilty as a principal participant to battery with a deadly weapon. Officials from the Washoe County District Attorney’s office said that she will be sentenced in the coming months.
Smith’s three assailants have all pleaded guilty to battery with a deadly weapon causing substantial bodily harm. In February 2008, Brian Joseph Ragland, 26, of Sparks, was sentenced to 60-180 months; in July Darren Smith, 21, was sentenced to 24-60 months; and Andrew Johnson, 20, received a jail term of 48-144 months in May 2008.
After the attack, the men fled, chased by some of the young football players’ parents. The group of adults caught Johnson, who was later picked up by police, while the other two men escaped in a car driven by 19-year-old Robert Mickel. Mickel pled guilty to conspiracy to commit battery with a deadly weapon and sentenced to 24-84 months. However, he hasn’t spent time in jail and is out on probation lasting 36 months.
Following the attack, Smith was left with significant bruises and lacerations as well as a skull fracture that eliminated the use of his right eye.
Motives for the attack are still foggy, however Smith did apply for a Temporary Protection Order against Sanders last September. Judges denied the request.