Man gets 8-year term for hitting officer, dog Westminster resident pleaded guilty to assault

January 18, 1996|By Amy L. Miller | Amy L. Miller,SUN STAFF

A Westminster man convicted of hitting a city policeman and his dog with a tire iron in April was sentenced yesterday in Carroll County Circuit Court to serve eight years in prison.

Robert Leroy Stultz III of East Main Street pleaded guilty last summer to assault with intent to maim in order to avoid arrest. In exchange, prosecutors dropped charges that included assault with intent to murder.

Prosecutors have said that Stultz, 30, broke into Eagle Oil Co. on East Main Street on April 20 after a day of consuming large quantities of vodka and cocaine.

When Westminster Sgt. Steven Shatzer responded to a call about a burglary in progress and sent his dog into the building, Stultz hit the dog over the head several times with a tire iron, prosecutors said.

Stultz also hit Sergeant Shatzer in the arm several times with the iron before he was arrested, prosecutors said.

Stultz "doesn't have a whole lot of memory about that night," public defender Joy Phillips said yesterday, acknowledging that her client is lucky police didn't shoot him in self-defense.

"We've relied a lot on what the state has told us," Ms. Phillips said. "But he could have been out doing more violent things than he did."

Ms. Phillips acknowledged yesterday that Stultz has a long court history dating back to his teen-age years and culminating in a six-year prison term from 1988 to 1994.

However, she asked Circuit Judge Raymond E. Beck Sr. to take into account that Stultz has a severe addiction problem complicated by physical and sexual abuse he suffered as a child.

"He did not deal with those problems," Ms. Phillips said, adding that Stultz needed therapy as well as prison time.

"Now we know that if you do not deal with the abuse, the problem will manifest itself in other ways."

Judge Beck sentenced Stultz to 15 years in prison on the assault conviction, suspending all but eight years of the term. He also sentenced Stultz to five years in prison for violating probation in the 1988 case.

The prison term for the probation violation will be served concurrently with the assault term.

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