WV DNR director charged with domestic battery in Florida | Cops & Courts

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Stephen S. McDaniel, director of West Virginia’s Division of All-natural Sources, has agreed to enter into a pretrial diversion system in St. Johns County, Florida, following he was charged with assaulting his ex-wife at her property in St. Augustine on April six.

The officer who wrote the arrest report mentioned the lady believed McDaniel was going to kill her in the course of an argument that allegedly became physical following McDaniel visited bars in downtown St. Augustine on April six.

Immediately after he returned from Florida, McDaniel met with Gov. Jim Justice and employees members and described the incident, Brian Abraham, the governor’s basic counsel, mentioned Friday. Abraham couldn’t recall the precise date the governor and employees met with McDaniel.

“He supplied to resign to the governor, and the governor didn’t really feel that was required primarily based on the way events have been explained to our workplace,” Abraham mentioned.

Abraham recalled that McDaniel told the governor and employees that he had produced “some sort of try to retain [the woman] from screaming” in the course of a disagreement that became as well loud for the neighborhood they have been in.

Abraham mentioned McDaniel produced his attorneys obtainable to the Governor’s Workplace.

“He didn’t want to trigger any embarrassment to the Governor’s Workplace, but we felt as he described the events occurring — the reality his spouse or former spouse was also not pursuing prosecution or didn’t want to prosecute — and we had been advised the matter was going to be dismissed and expunged and didn’t really feel that it was required to accept resignation,” Abraham mentioned.

McDaniel was booked at the St. Johns County Jail at four:37 a.m. on April six, and he posted bail on April eight, according to court records.

On his arrest report with the sheriff’s workplace, McDaniel’s occupation is listed as “DIRECTOR,” and his employer is “WV DIVISION OF NAT. Sources.”

On Thursday, McDaniel entered a deferred prosecution agreement, in which he neither declared his innocence nor pleaded guilty to the charge against him. The agreement, which was filed in St. Johns County Court, place McDaniel on a 1-year pretrial diversion arrangement. He will have to full a batterer’s intervention system and have no make contact with with his ex-wife.

The agreement prohibits McDaniel from getting guns in Florida, but he will be permitted to have guns “as a situation of his employment inside the state of West Virginia,” in the agreement authorized by Judge Charles Tinlin.

The court records do not indicate if the lady has a residence in or any ties to West Virginia.

McDaniel also is prohibited from consuming alcoholic beverages or any other “mind altering substances,” according to the agreement.

If McDaniel does not violate the agreement, the charge against him will be dismissed, according to the agreement. The terms of the agreement permit the possibility for the charge to be dismissed inside nine months.

The lady told police she and McDaniel have been married for 16 years ahead of their divorce, and they have been dating as of April six, Deputy Benjamin Brown wrote in the arrest report. The Gazette-Mail does not publish the names of alleged victims in domestic violence situations.

In the arrest report, McDaniel’s property address is listed in St. Augustine, and it is a unique address from the alleged victim’s property. The arrest record indicates that McDaniel has a Florida driver’s license, and his birthplace is Clarksburg, West Virginia.

Abraham mentioned Friday that McDaniel has a West Virginia driver’s license, which he obtained the day following Justice hired him as DNR director in February 2017. McDaniel gave up his Florida driver’s license, and the information and facts in the police report most likely came from a police database search, Abraham mentioned.

The alleged victim was at her property in St. Augustine when McDaniel showed up following drinking in downtown St. Augustine, and he was angry for the reason that the lady had refused to choose him up, Brown wrote in the report. McDaniel reportedly accused the lady of cheating on him and began an argument with her.

At some point, the verbal argument escalated into a physical 1, Brown mentioned.

“The victim stated the incident was a blur, but [McDaniel] had the victim on the bed, was on leading of her with his knee pressing down on her left forearm,” the deputy wrote in the report. “The victim stated her hair was in her face when the defendant placed 1 hand on her mouth and nose causing her to have some difficulty breathing.”

The lady didn’t know which hand McDaniel made use of to restrict her breathing, but she mentioned his hand was on the left side of her face, holding her down, Brown mentioned. She didn’t shed consciousness in the course of the incident, Brown mentioned.

Immediately after McDaniel got up, he allegedly picked up a lamp and started shaking it.

“The victim believed [McDaniel] was going to kill her,” Brown mentioned.

Brown mentioned the lady was “shaken up, crying, and appeared to be terrified.” She had a bruise on her left eye, a laceration below her upper lip and red marks on her neck, the deputy mentioned. She declined health-related therapy.

Brown asked her if she believed McDaniel was capable of killing her, and she hesitated and then declined to answer the query, he wrote.

Officers produced make contact with with McDaniel at his property in St. Augustine, and he waived his rights and agreed to answer queries from them.

McDaniel, at his residence in St. Augustine, told police that he went to nearby bars and drank that evening, “but then later stated he did not drink,” Brown mentioned.

McDaniel reportedly mentioned he asked the lady for a ride back to his property but she declined. He allegedly mentioned he took an Uber to her property, exactly where the verbal altercation ensued.

“McDaniel stated he under no circumstances became physical with her, but she started throwing issues about the property,” Brown mentioned. “The defendant stated he place his hand more than her mouth to stop her from screaming. The defendant after once more denied a physical altercation occurred.”

An e-mail sent to a DNR spokesperson looking for comment was not returned Friday.

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