LOGAN — A possible plea is being worked out for a 46-year-old Smithfield woman accused of beating or choking two children. Melinda R. Stash was arrested September 4.
Stash appeared in 1st District Court Tuesday morning. She was previously charged with two counts of child abuse, a second-degree felony.
Public defender Diane Pitcher said she was working with prosecutors on a possible resolution. She asked the court for more time, so she could speak with the defendant’s family.
None of the details of the plea deal were discussed.
Judge Brian Cannell said he would grant attorneys more time to work out the agreement. He ordered Stash to appear again in court October 29.
According to a Smithfield City police statement, the alleged victim told officers that Stash had “whacked” them with a belt before school. They also described how she grabbed them by the neck, and “jabbed” her thumbs into their jaw to the point they could not breathe.
The victim showed investigators wounds and marks on their body, consistent with the abuse claims.
Officers interviewed a second child, who corroborated the victim’s story. They explained how Stash grabbed the first child by the neck. They also disclosed being spanked with a belt and unknown object.
The report stated that both children were checked by medical staff. The examination resulted in the discovery of substantial wounds and abrasions on both children, all over their bodies.
During a preliminary hearing in September, Judge Cannell found that prosecutors had sufficient evidence to show that the crimes had occurred. He also allowed Stash to post $10,000 bail, after she pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Stash does not have any previous criminal history. She could face up to 15-years in prison, if convicted.