- Associated Press - Saturday, October 11, 2014

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A man freed last year after being granted a new trial for a 1996 Des Moines slaying has been given probation for new convictions - a move that stunned prosecutors who had worked out a plea agreement for a seven-year prison sentence.

Polk County District Judge Karen Romano sentenced David Flores on Friday to five years’ probation, with one year in a substance abuse treatment program, The Des Moines Register reported (https://dmreg.co/1D393md ).

Flores served 16 years for the shooting death of Phillis Davis before his conviction was overturned. The charges were refiled, but Flores reached a deal that kept him out of prison.

Once out, Flores was arrested three times in two months, including on charges that he attacked his ex-girlfriend.

Prosecutors said Flores skipped town after bonding out on those new charges. He was taken into custody by a bounty hunter eight months later in Arizona.

His sentence Friday was for a felony charge of flight to avoid prosecution, as well as three misdemeanor charges related to the attack on his ex-girlfriend last year.

Prosecutors argued Flores asking for probation just days ahead of his sentencing, when he’d already agreed to a seven-year prison sentence, was a signal he’s unapologetic and not trustworthy.

But the judge said returning Flores to prison would just be “warehousing” him for seven years rather than addressing his substance abuse problems and lack of maturity.

“I sincerely hope that I do not live to regret this,” Romano said.

“The reason I’m granting you probation is because I think we need to do a better job of providing you the skills you need to be a productive member of the community, starting with substance abuse treatment,” she added. “If you don’t take advantage of these programs and actually work in them and learn something, you’ll be back before me.”

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Information from: The Des Moines Register, https://www.desmoinesregister.com

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