BRECKENRIDGE - A man who beat and threatened his girlfriend with a gun was sentenced Monday to four years' probation and 90 days in jail after pleading guilty to assault and felony menacing.
Zachary Shannon, 31, reportedly beat the victim, choked her and repeatedly threatened to kill her during a drunken fight in June of last year, according to an arrest affidavit.
Judge Mark Thompson told Shannon he'd come close to prison, but was getting probation and a short stint in jail due to his lack of violent criminal history and the apparent remorse he showed in court.
"You can be assured that if you screw up on probation you will find yourself going to prison," Thompson said in court Monday.
Shannon will be allowed to participate in a work release program to keep his current job while serving his jail sentence and is required to write a letter of apology to the victim.
He is also required to attend counseling, take random drug tests and pay restitution.
The victim suffered some minor injuries in the fight that led to Shannon's arrest.
On June 9, 2012, she called the police after an argument that started at a Frisco bar turned physical. She told authorities her boyfriend was angry because he thought she had been flirting with other men at the bar, according to the affidavit.
When they returned to their residence, she said Shannon threw her cell phone, shattering it, and smashed her sunglasses by stomping on them.
She told police she then tried to leave the house and Shannon pushed her, causing her to fall down the porch stairs and scrape her knee, the affidavit states. She said Shannon followed her into the driveway, grabbed her by the throat and began punching her in the face, according to the affidavit.
She said he also threatened her life several times, telling her he was going to kill her with a 9 mm pistol found in his home, the affidavit states.
Shannon was initially charged with third-degree assault, two counts of criminal mischief, domestic violence and menacing. The charges were reduced to one count of felony menacing and third-degree assault as part of the plea deal he took Jan. 28.
Shannon was sentenced to 30 days in jail for the assault charge, to be served at the same time as the 90-day penalty for menacing.
The victim was present in court Monday, but did not give a statement.
At the hearing, Thompson compared the case to a 2010 murder in Summit County, which was also a domestic violence incident. Former Silverthorne resident Dale Bruner was convicted in July of strangling his wife and throwing her body in the Blue River near their house, where it was discovered several days later.
Thompson sentenced him to 112 years in prison.
"The last domestic violence case I dealt with in this courtroom was a man that got out of control and killed his wife," Thompson said at the sentencing hearing. "I pray that he never walks out of that prison."