A couple accused of child neglect after Las Vegas police found a stash of marijuana and marijuana growing equipment in their home received suspended one-year sentences Thursday and were placed on probation for two years.
Brian Atkinson Turner, the son of former Clark County Commissioner Yvonne Atkinson Gates and stepson of District Judge Lee Gates, apologized to the court before the sentence was handed down.
"Bad decisions," Atkinson Turner, 25, told District Judge Donald Mosley. "I would never do it again."
Katherine O’Gara, Atkinson-Turner’s wife, also told the judge that their 4-year-old daughter means everything to them and they are turning their lives around.
"I think we both made bad decisions," O’Gara, 26, said. "We will do anything we can to rectify that."
The two were arrested in August 2007 after police followed O’Gara, who officers said was driving erratically, to the couple’s Southern Highland’s home.
Inside the house, Las Vegas police officers found marijuana, as well as feces on the walls. They said the only food in the refrigerator was yogurt.
The two pleaded guilty to one count of misdemeanor child neglect and have since taken parenting classes and undergone routine drug tests to prove they are clean.
Their attorney, Andrew Leavitt, has disputed the officers’ account of the couple’s home.
He said there was a small amount of dog feces in the home, which is not unusual for pet owners who keep their animals inside.
O’Gara said that when officers entered the home, they pointed a gun at her head and then at her daughter.
The couple, who have since moved to San Diego, are also facing federal charges that they filed false tax returns and didn’t file corporate tax returns.
According to a federal indictment, Atkinson Gates paid the couple about $169,000 to work on her 2004 campaign for commissioner.
Their 2004 personal income tax returns indicated they only earned $12,523, the indictment states.
The federal government also claims the couple used money from their company, Ad Vibe, to make their car and house payments.
The company earned at least $310,000 in 2004 and 2005, but didn’t file corporate taxes, the indictment states.
Contact reporter Adrienne Packer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-384-8710.