At his arraignment in Jan. 2022, Damon Christopher Happy, 58, pleaded guilty to battery with a deadly weapon, a Category B felony. On Monday he came to the 11th judicial court from jail for sentencing.
DA Bryce Shields represented the State of Nevada. The court appointed Steve Cochran to defend Happy.
The victim, 69, gave a sworn statement. According to her testimony she and Happy were in a relationship when he flew into a jealous rage and attacked her with a metal bat and other weapons.
“I’m not going to minimize it and I’m not going to exaggerate it. I’ll tell you what happened,” she began.
“I knew he was a jealous man and I never gave him any reason to be jealous. It wasn’t the first time it happened. I told him that if it happened again I’d go to the police. I was terrified. The look on his face wasn’t the same face I saw when we were in love. He was a different man,” she said.
She managed to distract Happy and slip away to report the incident to the law enforcement. She declined to say what sentence she thought was appropriate.
“I don’t go to the hospital and second guess the doctors,” she said. “I’m not qualified to make that decision. I want him to pay for what he did.”
“I’m not vengeful. I don’t hate you. I loved you,” she told the defendant.
Shields acknowledged that Happy took responsibility for his actions. However, he argued that the defendant’s criminal history went back to the late 1980s with seven felony convictions. He’d been revoked from probation three times and had one dishonorable discharge.
“He forced the victim onto the bed and told her if she got out of bed he’d kill her. He methodically beat her on the breast, thighs, calves and hands. At one point he struck her with a metal baseball bat. What kind of individual does that? I would submit to the court that a very disturbed individual and someone who is a career criminal does that,” he said.
“The Mr. Happy that you see in court today is not the true Mr. Happy. He sits there looking benign and innocent but that’s not who he is. His past 40 years of felonies including domestic violence show who he is.”
“Mr. Happy is of such character that he’d force a woman onto a bed, threaten her with a knife and beat her with various implements over the course of hours – a wooden curtain rod, a metal cane and a baseball bat. He needs to be removed from the community.”
Happy read from a prepared statement. He spoke rapidly without looking up from his notes. He said he was ashamed of his actions and vowed to be a force of good in the community.
Judge Jim Shirley gave Happy four to ten years in prison with 169 days credit for time served. “ Looking at your criminal history you’ve been in prison six times. When you get out you’ll be in your sixties,” he noted. “Use that time to change. You have the capacity to be a good person but you have to show that capacity.” Happy said he would take the judge’s advice.