Former Smithfield woman sentenced to home confinement for beating two children

Booking photo for Melinda R. Stash (Courtesy: Cache County Jail).

LOGAN — A 47-year-old former Smithfield woman convicted of beating and choking two children has been sentenced to 24 days of home confinement. Melinda R. Stash was arrested last year and later released on $10,000 bail.

Stash was sentenced during a virtual hearing in 1st District Court Wednesday morning, appearing by web conference with her attorney. She previously pleaded “no contest” to one count of child abuse, amended to a third-degree felony. While she technically did not admit guilt, it was viewed just as a “guilty” plea in court.

According to the Smithfield City police, the 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.

Officers reported 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 Wednesday’s sentencing hearing, defense attorney Christian Hansen told the court Stash still claims the children were abused by her husband at the time. He said she had taken them from an abusive home and helped support them in their schooling.

Cache County Deputy Attorney Barbara Lachmar said the abuse to the children was more than just physical. She asked the court to order Stash complete domestic abuse therapy, to protect her and the children in the future.

Stash, who has moved out of the area, refused to comment any further on the case.

Judge Brian Cannell sentenced the home confinement, to go along with the one month of jail time she had already served. He also ordered her to successfully complete counseling, community service and have no contact with the victims.

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