TAYLOR COUNTY—Nineteenth Judicial Circuit Court Judge Alan D. Moats agrees to give a defendant a chance at reconciliation after the entry of a guilty plea in Taylor County Circuit Court.
Brandon Scott Hays was previously indicted by the Taylor County Grand Jury in September 2019 for one count of strangulation and one count of domestic battery. He appeared before Moats, asking for mercy in his case.
Present with his counsel, Tyler Reseter, Hays entered into a negotiated plea agreement with the state of West Virginia in the matter. In the agreement, the defendant agreed to plead guilty to his charges, and in return, the state would ask for a deferred adjudication.
For his crimes, Hays was facing a possible one-to-five-year sentence for his strangulation charge with an additional 12 months of incarceration, as well as a possible fine of not more than $500, for domestic battery.
The state would ask the court to hold his guilty plea under advisement for one year, so that Hays could be placed onto the Taylor County Community Corrections program to address his underlying drug issues, that led to his crime.
Upon the successful completion of the program, the charge of strangulation would be dropped, and he would be subject to a $500 fine for the domestic battery charge.
According to court documents, in August 2019, Hays got into an altercation with his live-in girlfriend. During a heated argument, he reportedly choked her, causing bruising to her neck.
It was also revealed that during the altercation, Hays punched the female twice, fracturing bones in her face.
Assistant Prosecutor Christopher Miller, who was handling the case on behalf of the state, reported to the court that the victim in the case was in agreement with the plea.
“The victim in this case has signed off on the plea agreement and wishes to show compassion to Mr. Hays,” he revealed.
Hays told the court that he had already been serving on the Community Corrections program for a year and four months, but he had succumbed to the call of drugs during that time. He noted that he had not had any issues with drugs since his last rehab stint, nearly a month ago.
Noting the need to address his underlying drug issue, Moats ordered that he would withhold accepting Hays’s guilty pleas, in accordance with the negotiated plea deal.
“At the conclusion of one year, if you have not violated the terms and conditions of the program and you are successful in its completion, I will entertain a motion to drop the charge of strangulation,” Moats voiced. “However, Mr. Hays, if you do not adhere to the rules, your guilty pleas will be accepted, and you will be sentenced accordingly.”