LAS VEGAS – A two-time ex-felon who had been jailed for more than seven years in Las Vegas without being convicted in a child sex assault case was sentenced Monday to 30 months of probation in a plea deal that had the sex charges against him dropped.
Warren Shannon McClinton, 49, appeared in court after missing sentencing last Tuesday — a date that had been set when McClinton pleaded an equivalent of no contest in September to a felony second-degree kidnapping charge.
He said he had trouble getting to Las Vegas from Chicago.
Prosecutor James Sweetin accused McClinton of disrespecting the court, and Clark County District Court Judge Eric Johnson said he was concerned McClinton wasn't taking his proceedings seriously.
The judge warned McClinton that if he violates any terms of his probation, he faces five to 15 years in Nevada state prison.
"A probation officer is going to tell you what to do and you're going to have to do it," Johnson said, "and if you don't, the underlying sentence kicks in."
McClinton on Monday disputed the length of his promised probation, saying he thought he agreed to 18 months, and denied knowing he'd face paying $3,400 in restitution for medical care and treatment of a 14-year-old girl who said he sexually assaulted her. The judge stood firm.
McClinton also denied his criminal history, until Sweetin and prosecutor Dena Rinetti submitted documents showing that McClinton was sentenced in 1989 in Virginia to five years in prison for theft from a person and in 1996 in Chicago to six months for unlawful restraint of a person.
Sweetin fought for years to get to trial in Las Vegas on allegations that McClinton sexually assaulted the daughter of a friend.
McClinton never posted $130,000 bail, and contributed to delays by changing lawyers more than 10 times.
His latest attorney, Ozzie Fumo, withdrew from McClinton's case immediately after sentence was imposed Monday. Fumo declined later to comment about a reason.
McClinton stood trial last June, and a jury acquitted him of one sex assault charge. The jury deadlocked on seven other charges including sexual assault, lewdness and battery that could have gotten him life in prison.
McClinton's defense attorneys maintained that DNA evidence showed the girl had sex with at least three men, but not McClinton.
His so-called Alford plea in September didn't admit guilt, but conceded that prosecutors could prove their case. He essentially admitted entering a room and preventing the girl from leaving while he yelled at her.