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January 9, 2007
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Teen to serve more than four years in prison

The teen accused in the hit-and-run death of a 19-year-old Truckee resident and the statutory rape of two girls will serve four years and eight months in state prison.

Scott Lindner, 18 of Ross, Calif., was sentenced by Judge C. Anders Holmer Tuesday in Nevada County Superior Court in Truckee in response to charges of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence in the Aug. 16, 2006 death of Keith Stewart. He will also serve time for felony sexual intercourse with a minor and misdemeanor sexual intercourse with a minor.

Truckee Deputy District Attorney William Cornell said he has been prosecuting cases for 20 years and "any type of crime that leaves the court frustrated is vehicular manslaughter" and the punishment that accompanies the felony charge.

Within Lindner's first few months of turning 18 "he created an awful lot of victims," Cornell said. "We really hope he has the maturity to make something of himself (when released from prison)."

Lindner's attorney, John Ward, said "this tragedy was a result of irresponsible actions and decisions," and Lindner is "here to take responsibility for the actions he made."

Lindner was present in court for the sentencing, but did not make a statement.

After Lindner's parents bailed him out of jail in August he returned home, but that "didn't feel right" to him, Ward said.

Lindner surrendered himself to authorities on Sept. 21, 2006.

Through several examinations of Lindner's mental state, Ward said doctors concluded Lindner has the developmental ability and maturity level of a 14-year-old due to physical and emotional abuse by his biological parents.

The fatal hit-and-run incident occurred in front of witnesses after a concert at Truckee River Regional Park. Cornell said there was "an absolute maze of witnesses" at the park the night Stewart was killed.

Lindner was in a state of fear and panic when Stewart approached his SUV at the park and started pounding on the hood. Lindner felt Stewart was going to attack him, Ward said.

"(However,) none of these things justify why Keith died," Ward said. "It shouldn't have happened."

Stewart's father, Lance Skupen, also made comments in court.

"Keith was no angel," he said. "He went through his tribulations, but he was coming out of it. I will never get over the feeling of failure as a parent ... I failed to get through to him or maybe he just needed a little more time."

And although he expressed tears and anger toward Lindner in court, Skupen said he accepted the sentencing but is not happy with the outcome. Stewart's mother, Christine Stewart, abruptly left the courtroom while Judge Holmer was reading Lindner's sentencing, pausing to show Lindner's parents a photo of her dead son.

Truckee police learned of the allegations of statutory rape involving a 17-year-old Truckee girl and a 13-year-old girl while investigating the hit-and-run.

Doctors concluded "there was not the slightest indication that Lindner was capable of sexual predation," Ward said.

Besides his prison sentence, Lindner will also be required to pay fines, serve three years on parole, and will lose his driving privileges for three years, Judge Holmer said.


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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Jan 9, 2007 06:28PM Published Jan 9, 2007 09:21PM Copyright 2007 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.