Judge warns Washington C.H. man to stay away from wife

By Ashley Bunton - abunton@recordherald.com

A Washington Court House man held in jail for 53 days on a charge of domestic violence has been warned to stay away from his wife.

Elmer J. Smith, 56, plead guilty to domestic violence, a fourth-degree felony, during a plea hearing in the Fayette County Court of Common Pleas Oct. 9.

Judge Steven Beathard, presiding over the case, said the state is recommending that Smith be punished with community control. Beathard said that the prior conviction makes the sentencing in the case a presumptive prison term but said it’s not mandatory. Sentencing is scheduled for a hearing Nov. 20.

Ahead of that sentencing hearing, Beathard said his court will review Smith’s prior domestic violence case. Smith’s prior case occurred in 1987, according to reports.

Smith was arrested in a traffic stop June 28 in the 600 block of Eastern Avenue in Washington Court House after a domestic violence incident was reported to the police department. The victim in the case, Smith’s wife, was reported to have a laceration and contusion on her face and neck, reports said, and Smith admitted to slapping her in the face.

Beathard released Smith from jail under certain circumstances. Smith must return to the courthouse to complete an interview with the Fayette County Adult Probation Department. Beathard said that assuming Smith shows up for the interview and for his sentencing hearing, he intends to place Smith on community control. But, said Beathard, a prison sentence will be suspended in the case. If Smith violates the terms of his community control, Beathard may impose the suspended prison sentence. The duration of the community control could be for up to five years, said Beathard.

Smith had been held in the Fayette County Jail since Aug. 16 leading up to the plea hearing Oct. 9. Smith stated he wants to avoid prison because of health reasons and that he had a liver transplant in 2014 for which he continues to take medication.

Beathard warned Smith that if he wants to stay out of prison, he must abide by the terms of his probation, including an order to have no contact with his wife.

“If you’re around her, you’ll get put back in jail and sent to prison,” said Beathard.


By Ashley Bunton


Reach Ashley at (740) 313-0355 or connect on Twitter by searching Twitter.com for @ashbunton

Reach Ashley at (740) 313-0355 or connect on Twitter by searching Twitter.com for @ashbunton