This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
A Rainbow Gathering attendee accused of stabbing a man during the June-July camping festival in the mountains east of Heber has been sentenced to nearly a year in jail.
Leilani Novak-Garcia, 33, also known as "Hitler," had pleaded no contest last month in 4th District Court to aggravated assault, and an attempted murder charge filed against her was dismissed, according to court documents.
She was sentenced Wednesday to 300 days in the Wasatch County jail.
As part of her two years probation, she was ordered to complete a mental health evaluation within 30 days and complete all of the recommended treatment, court documents add.
The dismissed charge stemmed from Novak-Garcia allegedly stabbing a man in the head and shoulder who was trying to get her to stop her honking her car horn at about 1 a.m. on June 23.
During the same episode, Novak-Garcia allegedly stabbed another man in the arm, for which she was charged with the third-degree felony aggravated assault.
In a letter to Judge Roger Griffin, Novak-Garcia described how upset she was that she could hurt someone so severely.
"I was brought up by a single, military mom, who taught me that it was very important to be able to defend myself physically," Novak-Garcia wrote. "It was thereby ingrained in me to pick up a weapon whenever confronted by a male opponent, due to superior physical strength and ability. When the victim punched through my window, I fell back on my mother's lessons on pure natural impulse."
She acknowledged "an extreme need to re-evaluate" and has sought counseling with a therapist and Alcoholics Anonymous, according to her letter.
She adds that she has been caring for her grandparents, that they are desperate for her return. With the judge's approval, she wrote, "I will further this cognitive reconstruction at [their] side."
Novak-Garcia's mother, Linda Garcia, also wrote the judge asking for leniency, describing her daughter as "very sensitive, yet strong-willed young lady."
"She is taking her time while incarcerated seriously and has expressed a willingness to change some things in her life, i.e. participating in the Rainbow gatherings," Linda Garcia wrote. "There will be no more of that in her life. I truly believe she means it."