A 48-year-old Santa Barbara man who punched a 71-year-old man during an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting will be sentenced to up to nine years in state prison on Friday.
Doug Stekkinger was found guilty of three felony charges including elder abuse, assault by means of force likely to cause great bodily injury, and battery with serious bodily injury. Stekkinger was also convicted of a special allegation that he inflicted great bodily injury on someone 70 years of age or older, which would significantly increase the sentence.
On April 12, 2012, Stekkinger attended an AA meeting at the Veteran’s Memorial Building with his dog, Blue. A confrontation between the older man and Stekkinger ensued about whether or not dogs were allowed inside during meetings. Stekkinger subsequently punched the victim in the face, shattering his cheekbone in three places.
According to a statement from the DA’s Office, the “victim put his hand on Stekkinger’s shoulder and attempted to counsel him that dogs were not permitted on the premise during meetings.” Stekkinger plead not guilty to all felony counts, claiming he acted in self-defense and that the man grabbed his neck before he punched him. The case went to trial, which lasted three days.
“This is a travesty — one punch,” said Ted Stekkinger, Doug’s older brother in November. “AA is supposed to be a place for serenity.” He said his brother has lived in Santa Barbara for about 25 years and had been “straightening himself out.”
“If someone grabs you, what do you do?” Ted went on. “Stop and ask to see their ID? ‘Oh, you’re 69, I can punch you.’ Or, ‘Oh, you’re 70, I can’t punch you,” added Ted, who is a retired police officer.
According to the District Attorney’s Office, Stekkinger has an additional conviction on his record, but prosecutors wouldn’t go into detail on the previous case. Recent police reports indicate Stekkinger was also arrested for misdemeanor sexual battery on October 8 after detectives obtained an arrest warrant for him after he allegedly grabbed the buttocks of a 23-year-old woman at a beer festival in late September. He has been in custody since his November assault conviction.