For Immediate Release
Contact: Michelle Bays
775.321.4307 (o); 775.771.6049 (c)
The Washoe County District Attorney’s Office recently secured lengthy Prison terms for defendants charged with committing crimes against elderly victims. The sentences ranged from 19 years to 50 years in prison and ensure the defendants must serve up to 10 years before parole eligibility begins.
In praising the sentences, DA Chris Hicks stated, “With our elderly population growing, it is incumbent that a strong message of deterrence is sent to those criminals that target our senior citizens. These sentences demonstrate that when our prosecutors continue to seek swift and severe sentences the courts will be listening.”
Michael Lee Mullins, 49, from Reno was sentenced last Friday in District Court by Judge Connie Steinheimer to 50 years in prison for one count of Domestic Battery Causing Substantial Bodily Harm and one count of Domestic Battery by Strangulation. Both counts included a sentencing enhancement due to the victim being elderly. Mullins pled guilty in August of having beaten and strangled his 68 year old female roommate during a July 30th disturbance. On that date, the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO) responded to a North Valleys home on a report of a domestic dispute. Once on scene, WCSO deputies contacted a badly beaten older female and learned that the woman had been arguing with Mullins over his drug use when he became violent and began punching and kicking her. The elderly victim fell to the floor, at which time Mullins strangled her. The victim was transported to the hospital for treatment. Deputies later located Mullins in Sparks, where he is believed to have attempted to commit “suicide by cop”, but was apprehended without injury. At sentencing Deputy District Attorney (DDA) Nickolas Graham argued that the lengthy prison sentence was warranted based on the severity of the beating, the age of the elderly victim, and Mullins’ lengthy criminal history.
Dutch Robert Cooper, 33, from Reno was sentenced recently in District Court by Judge Elliott Sattler to a combined 29 years in prison for two different cases involving three counts of Grand Larceny, one count of Attempted Robbery and one count of Burglary. Cooper was arrested on May 29, 2017 by Reno Police Department (RPD) patrol officers after they responded to investigate a vehicle burglary at a local U-Haul company. Cooper was identified as the suspect in the burglary and officers arrested him a short time later. At the time, Cooper was also wanted on grand larceny charges. Detectives with RPD had been investigating several purse snatchings involving elderly victims that had taken place between March, 2016 and January, 2017. The crimes had occurred at several area casinos and it was determine that Cooper and an accomplice, Wallace Tarp, 53, from Grass Valley, Nevada, had targeted elderly victims and stolen their purses from them while they were gambling. The victim’s bank cards were then used to get cash from other casinos before they were deactivated. Detectives were able to identify both suspects and a warrant was issued for their arrests. Tarp was apprehended in February and ultimately sentenced to 5 years in prison. Cooper was booked on the warrant when arrested for the burglary charge.
At sentencing Deputy District Attorney (DDA) Travis Lucia argued for consecutive time for each count based on the fact that each charge reflected a different victim, on a different offense perpetrated at a different time and location. DDA Lucia added that the case was essentially a crime spree where Cooper and his co-defendant targeted older victims. DDA Lucia also pointed out Cooper’s extensive history of similar crimes involving theft.