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.