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Man sentenced for felony domestic violence

by KAYE THORNBRUGH
Staff Writer | May 6, 2021 1:00 AM

COEUR d’ALENE — A man who pleaded guilty to threatening his former wife with a gun will spend about six months in jail.

Christopher J. Schaffner, 31, pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and domestic battery in the presence of a child, both felonies.

Judge Scott Wayman sentenced Schaffner on Monday to three years fixed and two years indeterminate on the first charge, as well as to three years fixed and 12 years indeterminate on the second charge.

The sentences are to be served concurrently.

Wayman suspended the prison sentence and ordered that Schaffner serve 180 days in jail with credit for time served.

Schaffner will have three years of supervised probation.

The charges stem from June 2020, when Coeur d’Alene police responded to a domestic disturbance call at the residence of Schaffner’s former wife.

The couple had divorced but continued to live together, she said. Schaffner allegedly came home drunk that night and was smashing items throughout the home.

When the woman said she would take the couple’s two small children and go elsewhere for a while, Schaffner reportedly retrieved a handgun from a closet and cocked it.

The woman told police she thought Schaffner intended to shoot her.

She said she grabbed the children and ran outside, only to realize she didn’t have her keys. She said she was afraid to go back inside to retrieve them.

Schaffner reportedly left the scene before law enforcement arrived.

The couple’s children reportedly told police that their father’s gun had frightened them.

One of the children said he saw his father grab his mother when she tried to leave, according to court documents.

It wasn’t the first time Coeur d’Alene police had responded to a domestic disturbance at the couple’s residence.

In February 2019, Schaffner told police he found his then-wife passed out drunk in their home.

He said she woke, screamed at him and hit him while he was holding one of their children, knocking him down.

The woman had visible injuries to her face when law enforcement arrived, according to court documents, which Schaffner said were the result of her falling.

Neighbors told police they saw Schaffner punching “something on the ground” through an open door but did not see what he was hitting.

The woman said Schaffner was punching her.

When pressed for details about what happened, she repeatedly told officers to look at her face to see what Schaffner had done. Police said she became belligerent.

She had sustained a concussion, as well as a broken nose and multiple lacerations to her face, according to court documents.

Photos and videos showed that Schaffner’s hands were cut and bloodied, according to court documents.

Coeur d’Alene police ultimately arrested the woman for domestic battery in the presence of a child.

Her booking photo showed that she had two black eyes, police said, as well as a large goose egg on her forehead.

A judge issued a no contact order between her and Schaffner. She was subsequently charged with violating the no contact order by texting Schaffner.

The domestic battery charge was later dismissed as part of a plea deal.

An officer who responded to the incident in June 2020 also reviewed footage and reports from the previous domestic disturbance.

Asserting that Schaffner was the aggressor in the previous incident and had manipulated law enforcement, the officer asked that the case be forwarded to the prosecutor’s office for review.

Schaffner was later charged with domestic battery in the presence of a child in relation to the incident.

He pleaded guilty to two felony charges in February as part of a pretrial settlement offer.

Upon his release from jail, Schaffner is required to undergo domestic violence treatment.

At the request of Schaffner’s former wife, Judge Wayman terminated the no contact order between the two.

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence or sexual abuse, call Safe Passage Violence Prevention Center’s 24-hour hotline: 208-664-9303.