For Immediate Release
Contact: Michelle Bays
775.321.4307 (o); 775.771.6049 (c)
The Washoe County District Attorney’s Office has announced a verdict in a recent trial, which resulted in convictions for multiple robbery and weapons charges stemming from a 2015 arrest. The defendant was convicted earlier this week on 11 criminal counts following a weeklong jury trial. Based on the defendant’s lengthy criminal history, this office filed notice of intent to seek habitual criminal status. If granted, the maximum penalty would be life in prison.
Stephen John Michael Christie, 28, from Sparks was found guilty on Tuesday evening of two counts of Robbery, one count of Burglary, one count of Leaving The Scene Of An Accident Involving Personal Injury, one count of Possession Of A Stolen Motor Vehicle, two counts of Burglary While In Possession Of A Deadly Weapon, one count of Eluding A Police Officer, one count of Possession Of A Firearm With Serial Number Changed, Altered, Removed, Or Obliterated, one count of Possession Of Implements Or Tools Commonly Used For Commission Of Burglary Or Larceny and one count of Felon In Possession Of A Firearm.
Christie was apprehended in September, 2015 after a vehicle and foot pursuit involving Reno, Sparks and other local law enforcement agencies. The Reno Police Department had initially connected Christie to a stolen vehicle in West Reno and when officers attempted to stop the vehicle, Christie fled. He was eventually caught and connected to store robberies and vehicle thefts in Washoe County. A subsequent investigation located a firearm that Christie had attempted to discard during the chase. Evidence connected Christie to robberies at a local Walmart and Ford dealership, as well as stolen vehicle cases and eluding. The Reno and Sparks Police Departments, Washoe County Sheriff and Nevada Highway Patrol were all involved in investigating the cases against Christie and following his arrest this office filed formal criminal charges against him.
At trial, Prosecutors Carrie Morton and Peg Samples introduced evidence of a Sparks police k-9 track that led officers from the vehicle Christie fled in to a backpack that he abandoned containing 60 9mm rounds of ammunition and credit cards belonging to the victim of one of the stolen vehicles. The 9mm gun discarded in the chase was found to have Christie’s DNA and was also admitted at trial.
Sentencing will take place on March 30, 2017 in Department 10, Washoe County District Court. Christie faces up to 117 years in prison unless sentenced under habitual criminal status, which has a maximum penalty of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
In addition, Christie had been identified as the driver in a fatal car crash that occurred in August, 2015 resulting in the death of 27 year old University of Nevada-Reno student Alejandro Sandoval. That case was prosecuted by the Reno City Attorney’s Office.