Robert Anthony Phoenix came to the 11th Judicial court for sentencing on Monday, Mar. 16.
Robert Anthony Phoenix came to the 11th Judicial court for sentencing on Monday, Mar. 16.
“I was frustrated,” said Robert Anthony Phoenix at his sentencing hearing at the 11th Judicial Court on Monday, Mar. 16. “I didn’t know how to answer the questions. I said some things I probably shouldn’t have.”

Judge Jim Shirley allowed Phoenix to change some of his responses to the presentencing investigation report (PSI). The defendant regretted a few of his answers.

The Division of Parole and Probation prepares the PSI in the interval between conviction and sentencing. Its purpose is to provide the judge with background information about the defendant. Judges rely on the document and mull over its content before making a decision.

The judge asked for an example of one of Phoenix’s gaffs. Defense attorney Steve Cochran obliged. “When the interviewer asked who he kept in contact with other than family members, Phoenix wrote ‘your mom,’” he said. DDA Todd Banks did not object to Phoenix changing his answers.

“That’s his prerogative,” he said. The court moved on to sentencing.

On Monday, Dec. 16, 2019, Phoenix pleaded guilty to two gross misdemeanor counts of battery on a peace officer. Phoenix admitted that on Sept. 1, 2019, he kicked out the back window of a police car. The incident happened at Burning Man. After his arrest, Phoenix spent 23 days in jail.

The defendant looked physically uncomfortable at his sentencing hearing. He leaned against the wall for support and, briefly, bolted from the room.

The judge gave Phoenix a suspended sentence of 364 days in jail on each count with 23 days credit for time served. The sentences will run concurrently. Phoenix will serve three years of probation and must pay $1, 668 in restitution. The judge ordered Phoenix to start paying $75 a month beginning May 1 until he’s all paid up. 

Judge Shirley added several special conditions to Phoenix’s probation. For example, he must complete an anger management course and not attend Burning Man during his probationary term. The judge ordered the defendant to obtain gainful employment of at least 36 hours a week. If that’s not possible, he must perform 20 hours of community service a week.

Donald Ray Wanner, 45, came to court for a sentencing hearing. In 2018, the DA’s office arraigned the defendant on four felony counts of possessing stolen vehicles – a white 1968 Ford fastback Mustang and a Raptor 4Runner.

The State alleged that Wanner sold the Mustang and gave away the Raptor without the permission of their rightful owners. He pleaded not guilty to all four counts. The defendant waived his right to a jury trial in favor of a bench trial. In a bench trial, a judge weighs the evidence and arrives at a verdict.

On Monday, March 16, Judge Shirley found Wanner guilty of the first felony count. He has yet to rule on the other three. Wanner returns for sentencing on June 1.