PAXTON — A 28-year-old Paxton man was sentenced to eight years in prison Friday for violating a court order prohibiting him from contacting his former girlfriend, whom he had choked during a domestic incident a year earlier.
Under the Truth-in-Sentencing Act, Nathan N. Steinmeyer will be required to serve at least 85 percent of the sentence imposed by Ford County Circuit Judge Matt Fitton. Steinmeyer will receive credit for 141 days already served.
Steinmeyer admitted in August to violating a court order that Fitton imposed in April. The court order, which prohibited Steinmeyer from having contact with his former girlfriend, was imposed after he pleaded guilty to aggravated domestic battery, a Class 2 felony, for choking her on Sept. 5, 2018.
Following his original plea, Steinmeyer received three years of probation. However, because the crime constituted a parole violation, Steinmeyer was sent to the Illinois Department of Corrections.
After his release from prison, Steinmeyer began initiating contact with his former girlfriend, resulting in a petition to revoke his probation being filed. Steinmeyer admitted he violated the terms of his sentencing order on Aug. 1.
At Friday’s sentencing hearing, State’s Attorney Andrew Killian presented evidence that Steinmeyer had attempted more than 250 phone calls to his former girlfriend from the county jail while awaiting sentencing.
Additionally, Killian presented evidence that Steinmeyer had damaged a television and phone in the jail when he felt upset or frustrated with jail staff.
In asking that Steinmeyer be sentenced to 12 years in prison, Killian told Fitton that if Steinmeyer cannot comply with the court’s order while in jail — and if he becomes violent and destructive when frustrated in a secure environment — then it would be illogical to think he would behave better if not incarcerated.
Meanwhile, Steinmeyer’s public defender, Harvey Welch, requested that the court order him to complete substance-abuse treatment and give him another opportunity at probation.
Fitton noted that he had ordered the completion of substance-abuse treatment in the original sentencing order, and Steinmeyer failed to comply. Fitton further pointed out that Steinmeyer had also failed to begin domestic perpetrator counseling as ordered. Fitton noted that Steinmeyer failed to comply with the sentencing order despite knowing that, based on his prior criminal record, he could be sentenced to up to 14 years in prison.
Fitton told Steinmeyer that his past failures to comply and inappropriate behavior while in jail did not give him confidence that Steinmeyer would not be a danger to others if given another opportunity at probation.
“The General Assembly recognized the dangers associated with one domestic partner choking the mother during a fight when they enacted the aggravated domestic battery statute. It is vitally important that perpetrators complete the necessary treatment to ensure they are not likely to re-offend, and if they will not, it leaves little option for the court but to incarcerate them in order to prevent future incidents,” Killian said in an emailed statement.