A Santa Fe real estate agent with a history of domestic violence charges will spend up to eight years in prison after pleading guilty to counts of beating, kidnapping and detaining two women he met on online dating sites.

Shawn McCourt, 52, agreed to a plea deal in two separate cases. He initially faced rape charges in one of them, which stemmed from an incident in May 2020, but those were dropped as part of the deal.

McCourt was sentenced Tuesday to a total of 22½ years — 4½ years in a case that dates back to 2018 and 14 years in the 2020 case — plus an additional four-year enhancement for being a habitual offender. The judge suspended 13½ years of the sentence and gave McCourt one year of credit for time he already has served in jail since his arrest last year.

He is required to serve four years in prison before he is eligible for parole and was ordered to pay restitution to the two victims.

State prosecutor Blake Nichols told the court McCourt’s internet access will be strictly supervised, and he will not be allowed to have any social media or dating profiles. He also is prohibited from contacting the two women.

In the 2020 case, court records say, a woman told police McCourt had beaten and raped her after she returned to his home on Galisteo Street to get her glasses following an argument. McCourt punched her in the face so hard some of her teeth fell out, she said, causing over $20,000 worth of dental surgeries.

In December 2018, Santa Fe police responded to a call at the Sage Inn from a woman who said McCourt, her boyfriend at the time, had punched her in the face, suffocated her and then refused to let her leave the hotel room after an argument, according to court documents.

McCourt pleaded guilty to charges of aggravated battery of a household member and false imprisonment in the 2018 case.

He also pleaded guilty to a first-degree count of kidnapping, aggravated battery resulting in great bodily harm and two counts of aggravated battery on a household member in the 2020 case.

One of the women testified in court Tuesday. “From the time Shawn hit me, nothing would ever be the same for me,” she said. “Shawn McCourt has set out to destroy women like me. … I am definitely too strong for that.”

She said she now suffers from anxiety, panic and post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the attack.

The second woman provided a written statement to the court: “I do not believe five years will make a difference in you beating women,” she wrote. “I worry about women in society who come across you. … I hope you will ask God why you hate women so much.”

At a court hearing in May 2020, in which a prosecutor successfully sought to have McCourt jailed without bond until his trial, a prosecutor recounted a series of allegations of violence against women.

In November 2017, he was charged with kidnapping and beating a woman in Santa Fe, according to an arrest warrant affidavit. The woman later recanted her story.

In March 2019, he was convicted in Colorado of false imprisonment of the same woman and other charges. He was sentenced to two years of probation.

According to the prosecutor, that woman also accused McCourt of trying to strangle her in September 2017 in Florida. The results of that case are unclear.

Another woman accused McCourt of domestic violence in Santa Fe in February 2018, but those charges were dismissed because a key witness would not testify at his trial, court documents show.

District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies said the women in the most recent cases in Santa Fe were incredibly cooperative and stood up for other victims of McCourt who could not speak for themselves.

“At long last, Shawn McCourt is facing justice and going to prison for his predatory behavior towards women,” Carmack-Altwies said. “McCourt has had a long history of prowling for women online, gaining their trust, and then turning the relationships violent and dehumanizing.”

(13) comments

Valerie Kennedy

I recall reading a post on this guy’s FB professional account during #metoo blowing up about false accusations against men for sexual assault. It stunk of guilt. I’m not the least bit surprised, and am glad he will be in jail for a while. He should have gotten the full sentence, though—what is wrong with the judge?

Molly Boyle

Would Milan Simonich care now to write a follow-up to his 2017 column (link below) that heavily and irresponsibly implies that one of McCourt's victims — repeatedly and unnecessarily objectified as a former centerfold by Simonich in his recounting of the case — was mistaken when she first reported this now-convicted monster's assault? https://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/local_news/flashbacks-haunt-a-centerfold/article_7ed1beb5-20c1-55a5-a4e6-de766182b3dc.html

Sabine Strohem

Thanks for posting this, Molly.

Mark Ortiz

Wow, I agree. I will say, these reporters, editors rarely if ever seem to read the comment section much less respond. Daniel Chacon did but I've never seen Milan respond whether it's praise or criticism. I noticed the SFNM stopped posting their email addressed but from what I recall it's there first initial, last name @sfnewmexican.com

It seems Publisher-Tom Cross, Editor-Phill Casaus, Deputy Managing Editor-Brian Baker, and News Content Editor-Cynthia Miller should demand a follow up.

Sabine Strohem

Who will monitor his social media? https://twitter.com/jett_mccourt?lang=en

Khal Spencer

Why won't the paper print the judge's name who handed down this mickey-mouse sentence. I'm not sure who disgusts me more, this PoS predator or His/Her Honor.

This guy should have been chemically castrated and given the maximum sentence.

Mark Ortiz

Sometimes they do. This story was from a week ago "Rio Arriba County man gets 34 years in prison for raping child" Judge Linyard. Victoria Traxler wrote both stories. Seems common sensical enough to always list the judge. Management/editor of this paper doesn't seem to think so. Reading about stories like these over the last 30 years, the only change are the judges. Judge M. Vigil and Ellington did it ALL the time. The constant, is the practice of "heavy handed" sentences only to suspend a lot or most of the sentence. I don't know the last time I read a story where NONE of the sentence was suspended. Chavez from Rio Arriba faced 60 years, 24 suspended, 2 years credit for time served. McCourt, 22.4 years sentence, 13.5 suspended. It really is maddening.

Mark Ortiz

Mr. Spencer, another case to follow, the SFNM just published details about that is currently in District Court, is "Witnesses detail chaos during fatal Chamita shooting". The writer was Scott Wyland and in this story, did not publish the Judges name. We'll see if he does as he follows the story and what kind of sentence will be handed down, what kind of plea goodies District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies's office offers, and how much time will be suspended.

Andrew Lucero

Another Mickey Mouse sentence from our worthless judges... What a disgrace.

Scott Smart

Why was he given such a light sentence? With his history? SMH

Jay Bunker

From my reading of the article, the plea deal that facilitated the resolution of the case is the reason for the less than maximum sentences.

Mark Ortiz

Sad, District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies ran on being an advocate for women, saying it was here experience in this field that she should be elected. I thought pleas were a thing of the past for the more violent criminals when we voted for her. I guess I need to look into it more as far as what a plea deal is and a suspended sentence is. Are the two seperate things or they work in concert with each other.

Khal Spencer

Hard to say what is best. If the case is too weak for a sure conviction or the prosecution does not feel it can reasonably line up all its ducks, you take what you can get. Criminal justice, like politics, is the art of sausage being made. Sigh.

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