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Battered woman avoids prison

Christina Proctor

A 31-year-old woman convicted of stealing money from the Tahoe Rim Trail group said she plans to pay the money back quickly.

Kari Daniels was given a suspended sentence Tuesday in Douglas County District Court and placed on probation not to exceed five years. She was ordered to pay $4,208.68 in restitution to the nonprofit trail group and perform 100 hours of community service.

“They gave me a chance at life again,” Daniels said of the judge’s sentence. “They gave me a chance to prove myself and I’m not going to let them down.”

Daniels was one of two full-time employees with the Tahoe Rim Trail. Executive Director Lynda McDowell said Daniels started as office manager in December of 1997. McDowell contacted the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department after she discovered a forgery of the group’s business checks. The theft began in the last week of March, right after McDowell took an extended leave for family reasons. McDowell said when she returned she found extra payroll checks for Daniels on the group’s bank statements.

Daniels appeared for her sentencing while still recovering from a brutal attack by her estranged husband two weeks before. Darryl Daniels died after Reno police took him into custody for the attempted murder of his wife two days after the attack. Investigators haven’t determined the cause of death, but said cocaine was found in his system.

“I’m doing OK. I’m blind in my right eye and deaf in my right ear. I have numbness on the right side of my face,” Daniels said Tuesday, adding she might have to undergo more surgery in six weeks.

Daniels filed a restraining order against her husband almost two months before the attack – the same day she turned herself into authorities for the theft charge. She was hiding with relatives and trying to end their eight-year marriage. Douglas County investigators said Darryl lured his wife out of the house and then attacked her. Authorities arrived after Kari’s 12-year-old son contacted 911.

“I want all the officers to know how much I appreciate what they did and how they kept me safe,” Daniels said. “I’m grateful for my life right now.”

Daniels said her situation with her husband did play into her decision to take the money, but it doesn’t justify her actions.

“Every check that I earned the proper way was taken by my husband. He had a drug problem, and I needed to feed my kids and pay my rent,” Daniels said. “I did it myself and I take responsibility for it. I just want to apologize to the Rim Trail and everyone in the organization and especially Lynda. She was a woman who put so much faith and trust in me and I let her down.”

Daniels said she would like to work out her 100 hours of community service with the Tahoe Rim Trail.

“I think that’s where I should do it, but it’s up to them if they want to let me,” Daniels said. “I’d understand if they didn’t”

Tahoe Daily Tribune E-mail: tribune@tahoe.com

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