Stephen Henry Slingluff, 32, Lostine, received no jail time in a domestic violence incident that included the defendant threatening to kill his girlfriend with a knife after she wanted to break off their relationship.
Slingluff pleaded guilty to counts of coercion, a Class C felony and menacing in Wallowa County Circuit Court Aug. 8. Wallowa County District attorney Rebecca Frolander prosecuted the case for the state while Zachary Hostetter represented Slingluff. Judge Patricia Sullivan presided.
Slingluff was originally charged with additional counts of menacing, two counts of harassment and recklessly endangering another person stemming from the May 1 incident.
According to Frolander, the victim told investigators that Slingluff became verbally abusive early into the relationship calling her “stupid” and “a failure” if she didn’t measure up to his expectations. She attempted to leave Slingluff at least twice. After calling 911 after the May 1 incident, she called her father to specify her burial preferences fearing she would not survive the night.
Hostetter said that he only took the case because his client was motivated to change his behavior and professes he wanted to do more than apologize to the court and victim –– he wanted “atonement.”
“His actions have been consistent with that desire, and I think he should be commended for that,” he said. “There were, as in all relations, things that should not have occurred, that’s an understatement, concluding with what happened in May.”
Hostetter urged the judge to set a time-frame for lifting a no-contact order between the two to facilitate couples counseling for the victim and perpetrator.
He added that the incident came after eight or nine hours of discussion between the victim and defendant and while Slingluff was battling “mental health issues.” He added that renewed contact would probably spur the defendant’s motivation to complete treatment.
With the judge’s permission, Hostetter brought in the defendant’s mother to testify . She said her son taught guitar to children and that parents found him to be a gentle and understanding person as did some residents of the county.
She testified she believed his behavior in the relationship was due to ill treatment by one or two others, although she did not elaborate. She agreed that her son needed to change his behavior.
Slingluff also spoke in his own defense and said that when he eventually was reconciled with the victim, the two planned to visit her homeland and seek healing and peace and work on his issues.
Hostetter reiterated his request to drop the no-contact order and to allow for early termination of Slingluff’s probation if he completed other portions of his sentence. Frolander objected and said the defendant needed to serve out his entire probation without fault in order to be eligible for dropping the felony charge to a misdemeanor.
For the coercion charge, Sullivan sentenced Slingluff to 36 months of supervised probation, 30 days on the work crew and undergoing the domestic violence package. She also allowed him to petition for contact by email or text with the victim after 90 days, which Sullivan said would serve to reduce Slingluff’s anxiety.
He also had a number of firearms permanently confiscated and received a $500 fine. The menacing charge led to an additional 10 days of work crew.
Sullivan also lectured Slingluff about his behavior.
“If you can get insight into why you were acting the way you do and develop good plans for controlling it, it’s going to make your life so much better,” she said.