A North Las Vegas man will spend the next five years on probation for pushing his wife off a cliff and into the waters of Lake Mohave.
Glenn Moss, 63, initially faced a charge of attempted murder in the case but negotiated a favorable deal with prosecutors that allowed him to plead guilty in August to a misdemeanor assault charge.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert Johnston sentenced Moss on Tuesday and ordered him to stay out of the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, which includes Lake Mohave, while on probation.
Moss declined to make a statement to the judge, saying, "I think everything's pretty clear."
During the sentencing hearing, Assistant Federal Public Defender Shari Kaufman repeatedly tried to steer the discussion away from the original allegations against Moss.
Wendy Beckner, a senior U.S. probation officer, urged Johnston to require mental health treatment for the defendant and said the details of the crime "should not be overlooked or minimized."
Kaufman then responded, "I don't care what was charged initially."
Johnston later commented on the unusual nature of the underlying facts.
He pleaded guilty "to pushing his wife," Kaufman stressed, adding that Moss did not intend to hurt his wife.
"This was not a recreational push into the water at Lake Mead," the judge said.
When Kaufman persisted with her argument, Johnston asked, "He wanted her to have a nice swim?"
A federal grand jury in Las Vegas indicted Moss in November 2010. The document charged him with attempted murder, assault with intent to commit murder and assault resulting in serious bodily injury.
According to a criminal complaint previously filed against Moss, he pushed his wife off a 20-foot-high cliff on Nov. 3 within the Lake Mead National Recreation Area.
The woman, identified in some court documents as L.M., told authorities that she and Moss had a picnic at Nelson's Landing before he told her to look at the fish in the lake.
When she came to the edge of the cliff, Moss "suddenly pushed hard" in the center of her back and sent her into the water below, the complaint said.
"L.M. stated that she screamed for help and that she looked up and observed Glenn Duane Moss watching her without speaking," the document said.
"L.M. stated that she felt she was going to die because she cannot swim but that she managed to get back to the shoreline."
The woman attracted the attention of someone on a personal watercraft who took her away from the area. She then met a friend and called 911.
According to the complaint, Moss told authorities that his wife had lost her balance and that he had tried to grab her around the waist to prevent her from falling. He denied telling his wife to look into the water for fish, and he denied pushing her off the cliff.
As part of his plea agreement, Moss admitted he traveled with his wife to the Lake Mead National Recreation Area on Nov. 3 and assaulted her "by striking her, resulting in L.M. falling over the edge of a cliff" and into the water below.
At the plea hearing in August, Johnston granted a defense request to lift the restriction that barred Moss from having contact with his wife, Lucia.
Kaufman said the two have a "friendship relationship," rather than a marital relationship, and "are getting along fine."
The defense attorney said Moss' current wife and previous wife both have indicated he had no prior history of violence.
Kaufman said her client suffers from multiple myeloma, a cancer of the plasma cells. She also said he is on disability and resides with two roommates.
Beckner said Moss "has been struggling with his life circumstances."
Johnston agreed to require mental health treatment for the defendant, who spent three months in custody after his arrest in the case.
"This is not punishment but opportunity, and you should see it as such," the judge told Moss.
According to the criminal complaint, Lucia Moss told authorities that she and her husband were married in 1998 in the Philippines.
Contact reporter Carri Geer Thevenot at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-384-8710.