Habitual Criminal Sentencing
District Attorney Announces Life Sentence Sought After Recent Felony Conviction

Media Release
For Immediate Release

Contact: Michelle Bays
775.321.4307 (o); 775.771.6049 (c)

June 8, 2016

Reno, Nevada

Washoe County District Attorney Chris Hicks announced today that a Reno man has been sentenced to two life terms in prison under Nevada’s habitual criminal statute following convictions for felony DUI and Burglary. The sentence ensures the defendant will serve a minimum of 10 years in prison before being eligible for parole. 

Shaen Lowell Gresham, 38 (DOB 10/18/77) was arrested by the Nevada Highway Patrol in October of 2011 for driving under the influence of drugs after he was stopped for operating his vehicle without a front license plate.  At the time of his arrest for the DUI, Gresham was out on bail for a prior arrest for a felony grand larceny and burglary that occurred less than a month prior.  Following his release from custody for the DUI, Gresham was again arrested by the Sparks Police Department.  That arrest took place on Black Friday following Thanksgiving 2011.  Gresham was charged with burglary after being caught impersonating a Wal-Mart employee and attempting to steal over $400 worth of merchandise.  During that arrest, a 9” SOG hunting knife was found concealed on his person. 

Gresham pled guilty in 2013 to one count of Driving Under the Influence of a Prohibited Substance (F) and one count of Burglary.  However, following his entry of plea, Gresham posted bail, fled to California and failed to appear for sentencing.  Gresham was arrested and convicted of 6 additional felonies while on the run in California.  He was ultimately returned to Nevada in 2015 to be sentenced on the charges here.  Following his return to the Washoe County Jail, the Washoe County District Attorney’s Office filed a notice of intent to seek habitual criminal status based on Gresham’s lengthy criminal history that now included 13 felony convictions from both Nevada and California including DUI causing death, transport/sale of controlled substance, false personation of another, conspiracy to obstruct justice, and burglary.

At Friday’s sentencing hearing, prosecutor Darcy Cameron presented evidence of Gresham’s prior convictions in support of habitual criminal status, namely that following his prior arrest for DUI causing death and leaving the scene of an accident where he struck and killed a 55-year-old female pedestrian crossing the street in Las Vegas, he had been arrested 4 more times for DUI and had amassed 12 additional felony convictions.  Since becoming an adult, Gresham’s longest period of abstinence from criminal activity was 18 months, which followed his release from prison in 2007 for the DUI causing death. 

According to District Attorney Chris Hicks, “Gresham represents the precise reason career criminal sentences exist.  This type of constant criminal victimization of our community and evident inability to be rehabilitated shows why we can’t tolerate repeat offenders.” 

Washoe County District Court Judge Lynn Simons sentenced Gresham to a term of life in prison with the possibility of parole after 10 years for each of the two charges.  The judge set the sentences to run concurrent making Gresham eligible for parole in 10 years. 

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Call 311 to find resources, ask questions, and utilize Washoe County services. Learn More »