A local barber could spend up to 7.5 years in prison after in a fit of anger he rammed his girlfriend’s car, which held two of his children.
Judge Gary Scales will sentence Charles Allen DeBurger, 35, Friday afternoon in Payson after DeBurger pleaded to aggravated assault/domestic violence and endangerment.
On Sept. 22, DeBurger started drinking and he and his girlfriend started arguing because of it. After a spat, DeBurger would leave the home then return and the argument would kick up again, according to a presentencing report.
When DeBurger came back at 5:30 p.m. that day, DeBurger’s girlfriend decided to leave for Payson and stay in a hotel for the night with a then-9-month-old child and 15-year-old. DeBurger followed them.
While heading up Highway 188, DeBurger caught up with the woman’s vehicle and rammed it, striking the rear bumper and attempting to run them off the road.
DeBurger continued to erratically follow the woman to Highway 87 and came within inches of her vehicle’s bumper again before pulling up alongside.
DeBurger later told probation he pulled over at one point to tell the woman he loved her and wanted her to come home.
Fearing for her safety, however, the woman called for help. Gila County Sheriff’s Office officers pulled DeBurger and the woman’s vehicle over where the children were visibly shaken.
During his arrest, DeBurger claimed innocence and said he could not recall colliding with another vehicle, according to police reports. He invoked his rights and was booked into jail where he has sat for the last 187 days.
It is not the first time DeBurger has been behind bars. He has six prior felony convictions, most revolving around theft, violent or motor vehicle related crimes, according to the presentencing report. DeBurger has spent “a good portion of his adult life” in Arizona prisons and despite his good intentions upon his last release, returned to alcohol and drug abuse.
“After his release to the community two years ago, defendant indicated he began his life anew while establishing himself into a career and starting a family,” a probation officer wrote.
He got a job at a local barbershop, met his girlfriend and they had a child together, adding to the four children he has with his ex-wife.
He returned to drugs and alcohol though and his commitment diminished, leading now to another prison term.
DeBurger readily admitted to a probation officer his most recent infractions and said he’s grateful he did not harm his family.
In a letter, he begged Scales to take mercy on him.
“I regret that night,” he wrote. “I made a stupid decisions, I was drunk… I wasn’t trying to hurt anyone, I just wanted my family to come home and the way I did it was dangerous and wrong… I’ll regret this for a long time.”
DeBurger said he is grateful his girlfriend has forgiven him and now realizes abuse he suffered as a child had a far greater impact than he realized.
DeBurger said he was physically, emotionally and sexually abused as a child and his father lashed out at him at least twice a week.
“Reflecting on his behavior, defendant recognized by not addressing and overcoming the trauma inflicted on him as a child this has impacted his relationships,” probation wrote.