MOUNT VERNON — The grand jury indicted two men of domestic violence in unrelated cases. A Brinkhaven man who assaulted his 13-year-old daughter was charged with felony domestic violence. A Fredericktown man was also indicted for attempted murder in addition to misdemeanor domestic violence for strangling the mother of his children.
Jose Hernandez, 45, Brinkhaven, was indicted on one count of domestic violence, a fourth-degree felony. Hernandez was previously convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence in 2012. A second offense elevated the domestic violence charge to a felony, according to the Ohio Revised Code.
Jeffrey Church, 25, Fredericktown, was indicted for attempted murder, a first-degree felony; aggravated menacing, a first-degree misdemeanor; unlawful restraint, a third-degree misdemeanor; attempted felonious assault, a third-degree felony; and domestic violence, a first-degree misdemeanor.
Church reportedly threatened, restrained and assaulted the mother of his four children at her residence on Dec. 16.
The sheriff’s office received an emergency call on Monday, Dec. 16, reporting screaming from the victim’s residence. Officers who responded to the incident determined it to be a domestic violence situation.
Church reportedly strangled the victim and covered her mouth and nose, impeding her ability to breathe, said Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Christine Williams. He further prevented the victim from leaving the room while he attacked her.
The victim sustained injuries around the head, neck and the left side of her body, according to KCSO incident reports.
Church was arrested and transported to the Knox County Jail on charges of domestic violence and assault.
Children’s services was notified concerning Church’s children who were present at the scene of arrest. One child witnessed the assault.
Because the witness is a child, a forensic expert specialized in interviewing children may be called in to conduct the interview at a later date, according to Williams.
Church has no prior conviction of domestic violence; the domestic violence charge is therefore a fourth-degree misdemeanor.
In the other domestic violence case, Hernandez was arrested following a welfare check that turned into a brief stand-off with the Knox County Sheriff’s Office and Danville police on Christmas Eve.
The KCSO incident reports revealed that the arrest on Tuesday stemmed from a non-emergency call Monday night. A female relative became concerned after witnessing Hernandez’s striking his daughter in the face earlier that night in Howard.
During an interview with KCSO deputies, the relative mentioned the fact that Hernandez was previously arrested for domestic violence in 2011. Hernandez allegedly injured his wife so severely that she “has to get complete facial reconstruction done,” according to the relative.
Hernandez was sentenced to community control and 240 days in jail in 2012.
The relative expressed concern over the family and the daughter’s safety due to Hernandez’s violent past. She further suggested that Hernandez might not comply with law enforcement.
Hernandez did not respond when a deputy and Danville officer arrived at his Brinkhaven residence to perform welfare check Monday midnight, and again around 5 a.m. Tuesday.
KCSO deputies contacted the Mount Vernon Law Director Rob Broeren for permission to enter the residence if needed. Dispatch further contacted Prosecuting Attorney Chip McConville for permission to enter. The KCSO Tactical Team was also activated under the advice of Lt. Craig Feeney who was in charge of the team.
Prior to the Tact-Team’s arrival, the mother and two juvenile daughters exited the house after being contacted by a relative. The daughter was tended to by EMS onsite and transported to the hospital while law enforcement continued to negotiate with Hernandez.
Via a loudspeaker, KCSO negotiators eventually convinced Hernandez to exit the front door without incident. Hernandez was placed under arrest and transported to the Knox County Jail.
Hernandez was originally arrested and charged with misdemeanor domestic violence and assault on Dec. 24. The indictment Monday enhanced Hernandez’s charge to a felony domestic violence of the fourth degree on account of his prior conviction.
Domestic violence is one of the “enhanceable offenses” under the Ohio Revised Code. The first charge is a misdemeanor. If convicted, the second offense is a fourth-degree felony and the third offense becomes a third-degree felony. While domestic violence charges do not go higher than a third-degree felony, further repeated offenses could result in longer prison sentence, according to Williams.
Other grant jury indictments issued on Monday: Brian Creech, 29, Mount Vernon, felonious assault, a second-degree felony; Thomas McClain, 37, Centerburg, four counts of fifth-degree felony forgery and one count of theft, a fifth-degree felony; Donald Holbrook, 29, Columbus, improperly handling firearms in a motor vehicle, a fourth-degree felony, and operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol, a first-degree misdemeanor; and Hunter Phillips, 26, Mount Vernon, aggravated possession of drugs, a third-degree felony.
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