GREEN RIVER — A 32-year-old Rock Springs man has been sentenced to 3-5 years in the state penitentiary after changing his plea to guilty on one count of domestic battery.
John Siegel was originally charged with two counts of domestic battery (third offense) stemming from an incident with his girlfriend that occurred at his home on May 23. He faced 20 years in prison and a $20,000 fine for the two offenses.
He pleaded not guilty to those charges at an arraignment in late June, but following a pre-sentence investigation, Siegel changed his plea to guilty on the first count. The second count was dismissed by the county attorney’s office in a plea agreement.
Siegel’s attorney, Rick Helson of Green River, sought probation and an intensiveg supervised treatment program for his client based on the recommendation from the author of the PSI.
However, Judge Suzannah Robinson cited Siegel’s long history of criminal activity beginning from the time he was 17 years old. Siegel had been convicted of domestic battery twice in the last decade, and has been arrested on numerous other charges including stalking, DUI and DUS.
During his factual testimony to the court, Siegel said he and his girlfriend had been arguing throughout the day of the incident when he pushed her and she cut the inside of her arm on a nail in the door.
He told Robinson that he didn’t commit the act in self-defense. Part of her sentencing focused on Siegel’s history of alcohol abuse, and his blood alcohol content was recorded at 2.9 when he was arrested that day.
He told Robinson that he still loved his ex-girlfriend, and asked the court for probation so that he could address his problems.
“I’ve had a lot of time to think about this,” Siegel said. “I want to prove to my family and myself that I can do this.”
Deputy County Attorney Lora Cooper pointed to Siegel’s “pattern of behavior,” particularly when he’s been drinking. He was convicted of felony burglary when he was 17 and received probation for that crime.
“Since that time he’s had quite a few offenses and many of them have involved alcohol,” Cooper said.
She talked about his penchant for domestic violence, stalking of significant others, and that an intensive outpatient program recommendation will be what many guilty parties receive because of COVID-19. Cooper said a prison sentence would give Siegel time to seek inpatient treatment to address his issues.
Helson argued that his client has been a productive member of society, holding down jobs and supporting his three children despite changing jobs because of the pandemic. He asked for a 3-5 year suspended sentence and that Siegel enter an intensive supervision program as part of his probation/parole.
But Robinson said probation was not on option in this case. She addressed his criminal history adding that Siegel had numerous probation violations following several of those crimes including the earlier domestic battery convictions. She said these patterns convinced her that probation would be extending this behavior that would eventually land him in prison.
Robison said Siegel has received treatment in the past for anger management, but never domestic violence, and recommended he seek that out while incarcerated.
“You do need some punishment for this, and you need to be removed from society for some time,” Robinson said.
Siegel will receive credit for 12 days served in the Sweetwater County Detention Facility and also pay court fees.