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Slater sentenced in girlfriend's stabbing


Dick Slater's mug shot

CLEARWATER, FL. (STAFF) -- Former professional wrestler Richard "Dirty Dick" Van Slater has been sentenced to a year of house arrest followed by two year's probation for the stabbing of his former girlfriend.

Van Slater, 53, was sentenced Tuesday in Pinellas Circuit Court after pleading no contest to one count of aggravated battery in the December stabbing. Besides the house arrest and probation, Slater was ordered to stay away from the victim and pay restitution, fines, and investigative and court costs of more than $18,000.

Police say Slater was arrested December 27 after he stabbed Theresa Marie Halbert with an 8-inch butcher knife and "watched her bleed" in her home. He had been in the home to move out the last of his possessions.

Prosecutors charged him with aggravated battery. Slater had apparently overdosed on pain medications after the stabbing, and was found at a residence off Seminole Boulevard.

Slater was a professional wrestler who competed mainly in the Southeast for 20 years, using the names "Dirty Dick" and "Mr. Unpredictable."

Born in Albany, NY and raised in Tampa, FL, Slater lettered in wrestling, football and track at Robinson High School, and then attended the University of Tampa (where future pro wrestling Paul Orndorff was also going at the time). He turned pro under the Florida Championship Wrestling group, led by Eddie Graham and Hiro Matsuda, in 1972. Others in his training class were Bob Roop, Mike Graham and Mike McCord/Austin Idol.

Slater was a heel from the get-go in Florida, and later went to San Francisco, Georgia, St. Louis, Mid-Atlantic, and numerous trips to Japan.

He first worked as a booker in Knoxville, Tennessee after Ron Fuller sold his promotion to Jim Barnett. But his greater fame came in the Mid-South/UWF territory run by Bill Watts, where he was also the booker.

In the UWF, he brought in Dark Journey as his valet, whom he had met in a strip joint. Eventually, the dual drain of booking such a huge territory and his relationship with Dark Journey took their toll.

"I had enough of booking and doing 3,000 and taking care of Dark Journey and having to put up with Bill Watts. That was enough. My mind couldn't take it anymore. My body couldn't take it anymore," he told the Wrestling Perspective newsletter.

In the WWF, he was made into a babyface, using "The Rebel" nickname. He lasted about a year, and eventually just left the promotion, returning to his Florida home to fish.

He retired from wrestling in 1996 after a back injury in WCW, where he had teamed with Bunkhouse Buck to win the tag team titles.

-- with files from Canoe wire services