For Immediate Release
Contact: Michelle Bays
775.321.4307 (o); 775.771.6049 (c)
The Washoe County District Attorney’s Office has secured a guilty verdict in a felony battery trial that concluded last week. The defendant was accused of beating a homeless shelter employee and breaking the victim’s jaw. Sentencing is set for September and this office has filed a notice of intent to seek habitual criminal sentencing based on the defendant’s criminal history including 2 prior felony convictions involving violence.
Christopher Stewart Woodstone, 36, from Reno, was found guilty last Thursday of Battery Causing Substantial Bodily Harm after a two day trial in Washoe County District Court. Woodstone was arrested on December 28, 2016 by the Reno Police Department (RPD) after an investigation into a battery that took place at the Community Assistance Center’s Record Street family shelter. The shelter provides services to the homeless. Woodstone was asked to leave the family shelter after staff received disturbance complaints about him. When a male staff member told Woodstone to leave, he responded by punching the victim in the face which resulted in a broken jaw. Woodstone fled after the battery and a police report was filed. Woodstone returned to the shelter a week later and RPD was notified. RPD patrol officers contacted Woodstone and he was arrested on an unrelated warrant and the battery.
At trial, Deputy District Attorney Kevin Naughton argued that Woodstone had not been acting in self-defense as he claimed, but rather that he had punched the victim out of anger. After reviewing surveillance video of the incident, the jury rejected the Defendant’s self-defense claim and convicted him of the battery.
The District Attorney’s Office aggressively seeks lengthy sentences against repeat offenders in order to prevent additional members of our community from becoming victims of crime. Sentencing as a habitual criminal on a qualifying conviction can result in maximum prison terms of 20 years to Life without the possibility of parole in prison. In contrast, the battery charge in this case carries a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison.