A man who used a gay slur before pointing a gun at his neighbor was sentenced to a one-year jail term, with all but one day of the sentence suspended.
Stephen Douglas Roberts was arrested in February on investigation of malicious harassment, a hate crime. Prosecutors never charged him with a hate crime, however, and in a plea deal the charges were reduced to fourth-degree domestic violence assault.
On Feb. 7, Roberts called dispatchers to say his 50-year-old neighbor was spying on him, according to court records. He then approached the man near the end of his driveway in the 300 block of Pacific Highway.
Roberts used a gay slur, pulled out a handgun and waved it around. He pointed it at the man and said he was going to shoot. He believed the victim and a 49-year-old witness of the assault were a gay couple, Whatcom County Undersheriff Jeff Parks said at the time, adding the men also had been arguing about a cat.
Roberts originally told deputies he pulled out the gun in self-defense.
He's on probation for two years and cannot have any guns during that time. The suspended sentence issued last week means unless he violates the terms of his probation, he only had to serve one day in jail.
In 2003, Roberts pleaded guilty to fourth-degree assault and harassment after pulling a knife on two men and telling them, "I'm going to kill you, and I'm going to enjoy it."