Tuesday, Sept. 14, 1999 | 11:01 a.m.
FALLON, Nev. - John Wayne Bobbitt escaped jail time, but was sentenced to five years' probation today by a judge who said he was just glad to get the notorious character out of town.
Bobbitt, who made headlines in 1993 when his then-wife, Lorena, cut off his penis, pleaded guilty in May to a felony charge of attempted grand larceny stemming from the theft of clothing at a Fallon store.
He could have faced up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
In addition to the probation, Churchill County District Judge Archie Blake ordered Bobbitt to pay $5,000 restitution and to serve 100 hours of community service.
Bobbitt moved to Fallon in 1997 and worked at a brothel near Carson City. Lately, he's been living in upstate New York where he says he's trying to start a new career as a comedian.
He said he would do his community service there, possibly as a volunteer firefighter.
The judge said he was concerned about Bobbitt serving that part of the sentence so far away, but added, "Quite frankly, I'd rather have him out of this community. New York seems like a good place."
Bobbitt, clean shaved and his hair cropped, told the judge he got caught up with the wrong kinds of people.
"Sometimes it's hard for me to be a good judge of people. I got caught up in my own personal greed until my conscience told me better," he told the court.
Bobbitt admitted guilt in May as part of a plea bargain. In return, prosecutors agreed to cap his restitution at $5,000 and to drop felony theft and conspiracy to commit theft charges against him.
Five co-defendants, including two Bobbitt cousins, accepted a similar plea bargain and entered pleas with him.
Bobbitt and the five were among 10 people accused of taking more than $140,000 worth of clothing from The Hub in 1997. The store since has closed.
Prosecutors disputed Bobbitt's claim that he was unaware the clothing hadn't been paid for. He was accused of taking more than $2,500 in clothing.
Bobbitt twice was jailed on charges that he beat up Kristina Elliott, a former topless dancer who was his fiancee while he was living in Las Vegas.
He left southern Nevada in 1997 to start a new life in this farm town 60 miles east of Reno, then moved to New York to be close to his parents.