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Driver in Oppio Park beating delays sentence after guilty plea
by Sarah Cooper
Oct 01, 2008 | 1446 views | 5 5 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The wheels of the justice system are slowly turning on the case of a beating at Oppio Park last August that left one man severely injured and seared an act of violence into the minds of several junior league football players.

On Aug. 29, 2007, Kathryn Sue Sonner, 20, drove three men to Oppio Park where they pummeled Sparks resident Dennis Smith with a machete, shovel handle and lead pipe while he was at a junior league football practice for his son. Sonner pleaded guilty as a principal participant to battery with a deadly weapon and on Wednesday she opted to continue her sentencing until after she appears in Washoe District Court on March 6, 2009.

Smith’s three assailants have all pleaded guilty to battery with a deadly weapon causing substantial bodily harm. In February, 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.

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 was pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit battery with a deadly weapon and sentenced to 24-84 months. However, he is now out on probation lasting 36 months.

The final defendant, Dennis Smith’s ex-wife Crystal Sanders, 33, of Sparks, pleaded not guilty to the charges against her and is waiting for her trial this coming February. She was arrested last fall for conspiracy to commit murder and at the time was identified as Ragland’s girlfriend.

The August beating took place at about 5:30 p.m. at the park near Sparks Middle School as Smith was picking his young son up from football practice. 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.

Comments-icon Post a Comment
December 10, 2009
I read where a man on trial for raping and murdering a girl at the Marina apartments claimed to have drank some beer and smoked some pot with Smith. So what? It that supposed to be some kind of excuse for this attack? Considering most everyone involved plead guilty, they apparently didn't think so.
Holly S
October 05, 2008
When you write your articles, are you looking at everything that has been filed, ie: motions to dismiss, and perhaps lately, what is going on in a day in the life of the "victim" Dennis Smith, who was indirectly involved in the murder of the young woman by the Sparks Marina? It seems you are not getting all your facts. If I can find them, and it's all stuff in the papers, why can't you? It seems you are hell bent on convicting the ex-wife. When all is said and done, and your "facts" aren't correct, how do you plan on apologizing to her, and her family?
October 03, 2008
What erronious facts are we getting? Or are you just muddying the waters by casting general aspersions about?
October 03, 2008
What facts? You wanna tell the rest of us what erronious facts we're getting here or just cast general aspersions?
October 02, 2008
Before you post something in the paper PLEASE get your facts straight! You ruin families by printing wrong information.
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