[UPDATED] Travis Christopher Unholz, OC Sheriff's Deputy Convicted of Roughing Up Wife and Trying to Contact Her and Get Gun in Violation of Order
"We consider all the ramifications, and in this case, it is going to cost him his career," Assistant District Attorney Ted Burnett told The Orange County Register this afternoon.
Also as part of the deal, child-abuse charges and sentencing enhancements were dismissed. If he'd been convicted of the charges as previously filed, Unholz could have gotten up to six years and eight months in state prison.
UPDATED, FEB. 28, 2:51 P.M.: Veteran Orange County Sheriff's Deputy Travis Christopher Unholz was sentenced today to 19 days in jail and three years of formal probation, ordered to participate in a 52-week batterer's treatment program, barred from owning or possessing any firearms, and prohibited from having any contact with his wife and two children.
The penalties came after the 36-year-old Trabuco Canyon resident pleaded guilty to one felony count of attempted possession of a firearm in violation of a protective order and one misdemeanor count of domestic battery with corporal injury. His wife hit her head after Unholz pushed her to the ground in front of two of his children from a previous relationship.
UPDATED, FEB. 7, 9:10 A.M.: Veteran Orange County Sheriff's Deputy Travis Christopher Unholz was denied bail Friday after his wife and former wife sought protection from him in court.
His current wife needed multiple staples to close a head wound allegedly caused by Unholz.
His first wife, who claims he has a history of domestic violence, told the court that Unholz tried to lure her to his home to pick up their two children because, he said, "everything" was going wrong.
Unholz is due in court this morning for arraignment.
ORIGINAL POST, FEB. 3, 6:25 P.M.: Veteran Orange County Sheriff's Deputy Travis Christopher Unholz, who was jailed Sunday for allegedly roughing up his wife, was back behind bars Wednesday amid accusations he violated a protective order by trying to obtain a semiautomatic weapon and contact the Mrs. while out on bail.
Prosecutors will request that Unholz, a 36-year-old training officer and SWAT team member, be held without bail at his arraignment in Newport Beach Friday. He could get up to six years and eight months in state prison if convicted of the charges against him, which are detailed later in this post.
He was apparently arguing with his wife sometime after 5 p.m. Sunday in their Trabuco Canyon home when he allegedly pushed her to the ground, causing her to hit her head. Their two children were home at the time. The woman contacted a friend, who in turn reported the alleged abuse to Unholz's agency, the Orange County Sheriff's Department (OCSD). He was arrested that night and made his $50,000 bail the next day.
A protective order prevented Unholz from possessing any firearms or contacting his wife directly or through any third party who was not an attorney. He is accused of contacting a friend and asking the friend to obtain a semiautomatic weapon and survival kit and to contact Unholz's wife. The friend instead contacted the OCSD, which sent deputies to arrest their colleague Wednesday.
Unholz is charged with one felony count of domestic battery with corporal injury, one felony count of attempted possession of a firearm in violation of a protective order, two misdemeanor counts of child abuse, one misdemeanor count of the violation of a protective order, and a sentencing enhancement for crime-bail-crime, which means he allegedly committed a crime while out on bail for another crime.
He was among several OCSD deputies the American Red Cross nominated for an award because of their contributions to fellow law enforcement in New Orleans shortly after Hurricane Katrina hit. He was also pictured--behind a surgical mask and on the hood of a moving patrol car--in an Associated Press shot of rescuers checking Modjeska Canyon homes threatened by wildfires in October 2007.
The Orange County district attorney's office statement on Friday's arraignment follows: