Judge rejects plea agreement

TAYLOR COUNTY—A defendant was back in Taylor County Circuit Court to enter a negotiated plea agreement, but things did not go as planned.

Shawn M. Smallwood, 42, was present with his council Ryan Shreve, to plead guilty to unlawful restraint and domestic battery, both misdemeanors.

For his actions, Smallwood would be facing not more than one year in a regional jail, a fine of not more than $1,000 or both for his restraint of his victim. Additionally, for his battery charge, he would serve on year in a regional jail, a fine of not more than $500 or both.

Circuit Court Judge Alan D. Moats revealed that the state would recommend that Smallwood would serve a total of one year in the regional jail, six months for each charge, and that the sentences would run concurrently with one another.

The judge voiced his concerns with the negotiated plea agreement, noting that the defendant had been originally indicted on two counts of unlawful assault, and that those charges stemmed from him cutting the face of his girlfriend.

According to Taylor County Assistant Prosecutor Christopher Miller, the victim was in agreeance with the plea deal.

“She said that he didn’t mean to cut her face, and that he wasn’t aware that he had actually cut her until he got ready to leave the scene,” Miller reported.

Unhappy with the statement, Moats voiced that her story had changed dramatically from the time that the incident had happened.

“The victim states in her own handwritten statement that Mr. Smallwood cut her with the knife, and further revealed that she thought she was going to die that night,” Moats voiced. “I had the probation office do an investigation, and that report was even worse.”

He reported that the report noted previous assaults, domestic batteries, violation of protective orders, breaking and entering and various other charges.

During the hearing it was revealed that Smallwood had been in contact with the victim following his incarceration and blamed her for his being in jail.

“He called her multiple times and threatened to cut himself if she didn’t get him out of jail,” Moats said.

He voiced that he was not comfortable accepting the negotiated plea agreement, and that he would have to take the matter under advisement.

In addition, Charles Christian Hallman, 47, entered a guilty plea to third-offense driving under the influence (DUI) and first-offense driving while license revoked for DUI.

For his DUI charge, Hallman faced a two-to-five-year term or a fine of $3,000-5,000 or both, and for his driving while revoked charge he faced an additional 30 days to six months in jail and a mandatory fine of not less than $100 nor more than $500.

Prosecutor Keith Skeen revealed that the state would recommend that Hallman’s sentence would be held in abeyance and that he be placed on community corrections.

The defendant admitted that he had been pulled over for DUI in Taylor County in December 2018, after drinking between six to seven beers. He further revealed that he denied the option of performing field sobriety testing.

Hallman had been previously found guilty of DUI in Lewis County in September 2015, and then in Harrison County in 2017.

“I had my license and had a blow and go installed in my vehicle, but I couldn’t afford the cost of the blow and go, so the DMV took my license for a year,” Hallman revealed. “I am a good guy, I’ve just made some bad decisions, but I am really trying to get my life back together.”

Moats ordered that Hallman’s two-to-five-year term and his 30-day sentence would be served concurrently, that they would be held in abeyance and he would be placed on the community corrections. He further ordered that the

Hallman was also ordered to pay a mandatory fine in the amount of $100.


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