BOULDER, Colo. - A former Boulder police officer accused of stalking his ex-girlfriend and plotting to kill her new boyfriend was sentenced to 90 days in jail and 10 years of intensive supervised probation in Boulder District Court on Monday.
Christian McCracken, 33, did receive a suspended three-year prison sentence, which he will serve only if he fails to comply with the terms of his probation, which includes an order not to return to the state of Colorado without written permission from his probation officer, according to the Boulder Daily Camera.
McCracken pleaded guilty to one count of felony stalking in February in exchange for prosecutors dropping one charge of first-degree attempted murder, felony menacing and two other counts of stalking.
While the stalking charge could have carried up to three years in prison, prosecutor Ryan Brackley asked for the jail sentence and probation, saying the victims felt the sentence would keep them safer for a longer period of time, with the suspended prison sentence serving as incentive for McCracken to straighten his life out, the newspaper reported.
"(The victim) is angry about what the defendant did to her and what he did to her life, but that anger never turned into a need for revenge, it was always just centered in fear, and the fear that the defendant's actions put her in and their extended family," Brackley said. "They just want to feel safe, and just want the court to impose a sentence that will make them feel safe."
According to prosecutors, McCracken began stalking his ex-girlfriend and her current boyfriend -- both Boulder police dispatchers -- and at one point made a plan to kill the boyfriend.
McCracken suffered a head injury while making an arrest on University Hill in 2011, and the then-girlfriend helped to take care of him. But she told the court that McCracken began abusing his medication and blaming his failure to get better on her.
After she asked McCracken to stop contacting her, he began calling her and stalking her, sometimes asking co-workers to tell him where she was.
"I cannot understand why he would want to hurt me when I took care of him and was a friend to him for so long," the ex-girlfriend told the court, according to the Daily Camera.
McCracken was arrested in April 2012 after he told his roommate and fellow Boulder Officer, John Smyley, that he was going to track down and kill his former girlfriend and her boyfriend and then kill himself, according to an arrest affidavit. McCracken said he would then go into the mountains and kill himself.
Citing as evidence that McCracken was serious about the threat, police said he went to the Boulder Police Department and collected two handguns and bullet magazines.
However, his roommate convinced McCracken to go for an evaluation at Good Samaritan Hospital, where he was arrested.
Both victims said they have lived in constant fear since that point.
"My everyday life is consumed by intrusive thoughts and fears, and I feel like I cannot stress how dangerous I think he still is," the ex-girlfriend told the court. "In five years I will still be looking over my shoulder, still waiting for him to finish his murderous plan."
McCracken's attorney, David Moorhead, argued against the jail sentence, saying McCracken had been adversely affected by his head injury.
"Mr. McCracken was injured in the line of duty and without that having happened, the people that know him don't believe he would be here today," Moorhead said, according to the Daily Camera.
But prosecutors said there was evidence that McCracken's behavior was disturbing before the head injury and that he had expressed little remorse in the case. An ex-wife and some ex-girlfriends said he made threats and disturbing statements to them.
During a brief statement in court, McCracken apologized to his victims and the police department.
"I cannot imagine what (the victims) have been through because of what I said I was going to do," McCracken said. "I caused a great deal of embarrassment to the Boulder Police Department and caused the community to lose trust in its officers. I hope over time (the victims) can learn to feel safe again and I ask for their forgiveness and the community's forgiveness."