Richard Dwayne Hash

PRINCETON — A circuit court judge rejected a plea agreement Tuesday and set a trial date for a Mercer County man who pleaded guilty last May to child abuse with risk of injury and domestic battery.

Richard Dwayne Hash, 49, of Bluefield appeared before Circuit Court Judge Derek Swope for a disposition hearing. Hash pleaded guilty in May to child abuse with risk of injury, which carries a term of one to five years in prison, and domestic battery, which has a possible term of up to a year in prison.

When Hash was arrested in July 2018, he was charged with child abuse creating risk of injury and wanton endangerment involving a firearm. An investigation started on July 6, 2018 when Detective Sgt. K.L. Adams of the Bluefield Police Department was notified about an upcoming forensic interview with a 13-year-old juvenile.

During an interview conducted July 10, 2018 at Child Protect in Princeton, the female juvenile said that Hash had hit her on more than one occasion, dragged her by her hair, and had pulled a gun on her, Adams said in his criminal complaint. The juvenile stated that Hash assaulted his wife by striking her with his fists and saw him pull a gun, threatening to kill her. The juvenile also said that Hash pointed the gun at her when she attempted to call 911, and threatened to kill her if she contacted the police before leaving the home.

Attorney Natalie Hager, who represents Hash, said at Tuesday’s hearing that Hash was remorseful. She asked that her client receive probation, saying he was helping care for his father and that he would not be able to work at certain coal mines and coal preparation plants if he had a felony record.

Swope told Hash that the charges against him were extremely serious, and that he had concerns about accepting the plea agreement, adding that he was “terrified” by the idea of granting probation only to learn later that “you killed somebody.”

Swope rejected the plea agreement and ordered that Hash surrender all his firearms and not to have any contact with the juvenile. A trial date was set for Oct. 1. Hash remained free on bond.

Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Adam Wolfe represented the state at Tuesday’s hearing.

Contact Greg Jordan at gjordan@bdtonline.com