AP NEWS

Man enters plea in caretaker abuse case

May 18, 2019

HUNTINGTON — A Huntington man jailed in 2016 after he was accused of physically attacking an incapacitated adult male who was under his care at a behavioral health facility has entered a plea connected to the incident.

Jimmy O’Dell Hardwick pleaded guilty May 2 to felony abuse of an incapacitated adult. Cabell Circuit Judge Paul T. Farrell agreed to allow Hardwick to enter a deferred adjudication with a year and six months of probation in lieu of a two-to 10-year prison sentence.

If Hardwick successfully completes the probation period, he will be able to exchange his felony plea for a misdemeanor charge. If he fails he will be sent to prison.

Hardwick, a former employee of Starlight Behavioral Health Services, had originally been charged in April 2016 after he was recorded body slamming a client onto a set of stairs in front of a residence in the 800 block of 23rd Street in Huntington.

Hardwick is then reportedly seen on camera dragging the victim into the residence, where the victim was thrown onto a couch.

The criminal complaint says the video shows a few moments later Hardwick pulled the victim from the couch and onto the floor, where he then threw the victim across the room, causing the victim to fall against a second client who was sitting in a chair.

According to the complaint, Hardwick then dragged the victim to another room before dragging him back into the living room, where he is seen wiping sweat from his face onto the victim’s face.

Hardwick then reportedly again pulled the victim into another room before returning a short time later with his shirt torn and his pants pulled around his ankles, the criminal complaint said.

In his plea, Hardwick said he “restrained the victim in this case three times” and that the man “sustained red marks on his back.”

The criminal case against Hardwick had been delayed for years as a civil case connected to the incident was pending in the circuit court. It has since been dismissed.

Follow reporter Courtney Hessler at Facebook.com/CHessler-HD and via Twitter @HesslerHD.

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