La Mesa man sentenced for sexual relationship with minor
A Lemon Grove man and former Border Patrol agent was sentenced Jan. 20 to two years in state prison for having sex with a 17-year-old girl in 2015.
Daniel Alfredo Spear, 46, was ordered to register as a sex offender by San Diego Superior Court Judge David Rubin, who gave him credit for already serving 241 days in jail. He was fined $1,800.
“It was not a 1-time thing. This was akin to an affair,” said Deputy District Attorney Marisa Di Tillio. “He had multiple opportunities to walk away.”
A jury convicted Spear Sept. 22, 2016 of oral copulation and digital penetration of a minor and use of a minor in sexually explicit images on his cell phone. They acquitted him of four other counts.
Di Tillio asked for a prison term of three years and four months while his attorney, Kerry Armstrong, asked for 270 days in jail. Spear was fired from the Border Patrol after working there for 18 years. Armstrong said he had been assaulted while in jail.
A probation officer said she believed Spear could be rehabilitated. His wife was in the audience. He has no prior record.
Spear faces a second trial on Feb. 6 in El Cajon Superior Court in which he is accused of possessing ammunition in a safe at his home in violation of his bond conditions. Spear had given up all his firearms, but apparently did not think he was required to not possess ammunition, his attorney said.
Spear denied the sexual contact with the teen-ager at trial.
Anti-fur activist sentenced
An anti-fur activist was sentenced Jan. 17 to 21 months in federal prison for damaging two homes in East County and was ordered to pay $423,477 in 14 incidents of massive vandalism.
Nicole Kissane, 30, formerly of Escondido, surrendered to prison the next day as ordered by U.S. District Court Judge Larry Burns in San Diego. Her boyfriend, Joseph Brian Buddenberg, 32, is serving a 2-year prison term for the same offenses.
Kissane and Buddenberg will share most of the restitution order. They spray painted “animal murderer” and “killer” at the residences of Kimberley Graf and her parents in La Mesa and Spring Valley in 2013. Two types of acid were spilled on their property and Graf’s fur business in San Diego was also damaged.
The judge told Kissane about what happened after she and Buddenberg released 500 minks from a farm in Iowa and how 130 of them were killed by cars or from heat stroke in just one day in Aug., 2013. Burns said the owner had to pick up dead minks on the road and many had their backs broken but were still alive.
Burns said the pair committed “a calculated, premeditated campaign of terror” to various people or businesses they singled out, such as slashing the tires of meat distribution trucks, gluing locks, and damaging a restaurant.
“Vandalizing homes and businesses with acid, glue and chemicals in the dark of night is a form of domestic terrorism,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Alana Robinson.
“Whatever your feelings about the fur industry, these sentences are a pretty strong signal that this isn’t the right way to effect change,” said Robinson.
Assistant U.S. Attorney John Parmley asked for an 18-month sentence, which Burns exceeded by three months. Burns said the 21-month sentence for Kissane “may deter others” from reckless vandalism.
Kissane’s attorney, Reuben Cahn, said she had “extraordinary” remorse after she learned how so many minks she had freed had horrible deaths.
“She’s learned her lesson,” said Cahn, who asked for a 15-month term and said she would be paying for restitution her entire life. “She wants to change her life.”
Kimberley Graf told reporters afterwards “We have a right to our legal, established business.”
A young woman supporter of Kissane yelled “murderer” to Graf and her parents while they talked with reporters in the downtown courthouse.
Both Buddenberg and Kissane pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act. Buddenberg has a parole date set for Jan. 26, 2018. They were not members of any animal rights organization.