A Kentucky man who prosecutors said cut off much of his girlfriend’s scalp in a fit of rage was sentenced Wednesday to 21 years in prison.
During his sentencing in Boone County Circuit Court, 31-year-old Zachary Gross continued to maintain that his dog, a pit bull named “Capone,” was responsible for the injuries to his then-girlfriend, Marilyn Stanley.
“For her injuries – I feel horrible for what happened,” Gross told Judge Rick Brueggemann. “I don’t feel responsible. I maintain my innocence. It is what it is. I’m not asking for your mercy. Just give me the 20. I don’t need a lecture.”
A jury last month found him guilty of first-degree assault in the September 2015 attack.
Stanley didn’t speak during the hearing, but in an interview outside the courthouse, she talked briefly about the half dozen surgeries she has endured. She has permanent nerve damage. She can’t regrow the hair on top of her head. She constantly wears a wool knit cap.
“In anything he has said throughout this entire process, he hasn’t had any remorse for me,” she said.
Stanley has no memory of the scalping, which severed an artery. Prosecutors said she likely passed out from the trauma and blood loss. A trauma surgeon testified during the trial that linear cuts to her head were consistent with the use of a sharp knife.
“It’s been proven,” Stanley said. “I went in there and I had my scalp. I left and I didn’t.”
Brueggemann on Wednesday also ordered that Gross’s pit bull be euthanized. The dog ripped apart one of Stanley’s ears during the attack, which happened at Gross’s trailer in Deer Trace.
According to prosecutors, a photo another man posted on Facebook of Stanley in a park with her son sent Gross into a jealous rage.
After the incident, Gross told her, according to prosecutors: “You’re bald now. Who’s going to want you, now?”
After handing down the sentence, Brueggemann told Gross that he hopes he does find remorse.
“It is very apparent,” the judge said, referring to text messages revealed during the trial, “you viewed not just the victim but other women as objects for your own gratification.
“Your disregard for the value of their lives… has led to where you stand today.”
Bureggemann's sentence included the 20-year-maximum sentence for the assault conviction and an additional year for a probation violation related to the conviction. He also sentenced Gross to 34 days in jail for making an obscene gesture at a television news camera during the trial.