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Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
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Hardy man to spend 16 weekends in jail for striking two children with belt
Judge delays decision on felony abuse charge
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Jonathan Ashley McGuire

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

By K.A. WAGONER - Staff Writer

A Hardy man will spend 16 weekends in jail for assaulting his two young children in June 2013.

Jonathan Ashley McGuire, 33, pleaded guilty in December to two counts of misdemeanor assault for striking two minor children with a belt.

However, McGuire entered a plea of "not guilty" to a felony child abuse charge for allegedly hitting his 3-year-old son with such force that the belt left deep red imprints on the child's skin.

Franklin County Circuit Court Judge W.N. Alexander II sentenced McGuire to 12 months in jail for each assault charge and suspended all the time except the 16 weekends. McGuire was also ordered to pay $1,500 in fines.

Although Alexander told McGuire there is "sufficient evidence" to find him guilty of the felony child abuse charge, he delayed his decision on the felony charge, stating he will review the case in January 2015.

"You seem sincere. You seem sorry," Alexander told McGuire. "It will bode well for you in 12 months if you continue counseling and follow all the conditions of your probation."

McGuire was sentenced to 12 months probation and was ordered to continue counseling and to refrain from using alcohol.

McGuire told the judge he is sorry for what he did to his children and swore it would never happen again.

"There is no more corporal punishment in my house," McGuire said. "I have learned (through counseling) to manage my anger and stress appropriately."

"It was the worst day of my life," he added. "I am a changed man because of this. Some people have to be broken before they can change."

During McGuire's trial in December, prosecutor Patrick Nix showed him photographs of his son that were taken the day after the incident on June 6.

"You struck your son so hard that the holes in the belt and the ridges and lines in the mesh are visible on his skin," Nix said.

McGuire, who did not dispute the prosecution's evidence, admitted to Nix that he was "out of control with my anger" and "lost my temper."

During his testimony, McGuire said his son's behavior that evening was "exceptionally bad." The boy had urinated on the carpet behind a recliner, threw nightcrawlers on the floor and hit his 5-year-old sister, he said.

"I lost my temper," McGuire said. "I whipped him three times.... I accidentally hit my daughter."

"When I noticed the mark on his neck, I fell down on my knees and held him. I promised him it would never happen again," McGuire added. "I was sad, appalled at myself. I could not believe what I had done."

"I intended to whip him, not beat or torture him," he added. "I wanted to punish him, change his behavior. I wanted my son to be good and listen to me."

McGuire also testified that his children did not require any medical care for their injuries.

During his cross-examination, Nix read several text messages obtained from McGuire's wife's cell phone, asking McGuire if he sent them to his wife that evening. McGuire acknowledged that he did send the texts.

In one text message, McGuire wrote that he was going to "end up whipping the s*** out of these kids."

In another text, McGuire used profane language to describe the boy when telling his wife the boy had urinated behind the recliner.

"They (the kids) had tortured me all night, doing everything they could to get under my skin, and that was it. I let him have it," McGuire wrote after the incident.

McGuire also admitted to texting his wife to say his son could not be seen in public without a high-collared shirt, buttoned up.

McGuire's wife, Tiffany M. McGuire, pleaded guilty in September to one misdemeanor count of making a false statement to investigators.

Tiffany McGuire lied to investigators about knowing what happened to the children, according to prosecutor Robert Deatherage. She later admitted to being scared to tell the investigators that she knew what her husband had done, although she was not home when the incident occurred.

Tiffany McGuire was sentenced to 12 months in jail, but served only 16 days of the sentence on alternating weekends.

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