Former Modesto police officer to jail for spousal abuse
A Modesto policeman once named officer of the year pleaded no contest to spousal abuse last week and will face no more than six months in jail when he is sentenced next month.
Matthew Spurlock, a nine-year department veteran, once faced charges of assault with a semiautomatic weapon and assault with the intent to commit rape. He pleaded to the one felony count Jan. 12.
Assistant District Attorney Carol Shipley said prosecutors took into account the preference of Spurlock’s wife that he not go to prison or serve more than six months in county jail.
“It was a sad case all the way around,” Shipley said. “He had to see some jail. But the offer that we made was partially based on the wishes of the victim.”
Spurlock was arrested July 15 and put on paid administrative leave pending an internal investigation, Modesto police Sgt. Rick Armendariz said. Spurlock’s last day on the job with the department was Dec. 15, Armendariz said, but Armendariz would not say if Spurlock resigned or was fired, citing personnel reasons.
About 7:30 a.m. July 15, officers responded to a report of a family fight at Spurlock’s northeast Modesto home. Spurlock no longer was there. Officers spoke with Spurlock’s wife.
According to court testimony, Spurlock pointed a Glock .45-caliber gun at his wife’s torso but fired no shots.
Chief Deputy District Attorney Dave Harris submitted photographs of Spurlock’s wife’s injuries, but did not describe the extent of her injuries in open court.
In 2004, Spurlock was named Modesto Police Department officer of the year, receiving the Albert Peder-sen Award for distinguished service in law enforcement.
Later that year, Spurlock was among the officers to testify in the trial of Scott Peterson, who was convicted of killing his wife, Laci, and unborn son.
Spurlock is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 23 in Stanislaus County Superior Court.
Bee staff writer Merrill Balassone can be reached at email@example.com or 578-2337. Follow her at twitter.com/modbeecourts.
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