Man in spanking case gets suspended sentence
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, April 5, 2005

RUSSELLVILLE — A man charged with third-degree domestic battery in the spanking of an 8-year-old girl with a wooden spoon and a paddle has avoided jail time.

Patrick Heaton, 35, of Russellville on Tuesday received a suspended six-month jail sentence, dependent on good behavior. Pope County District Judge Don Bourne handed down the sentence after Heaton entered a nocontest plea in Bourne’s court.

Bourne rescheduled the case for Oct. 4, when the charge against Heaton will be dismissed if he has acted properly. The judge also ordered Heaton to forfeit his $500 bond as a civil penalty.

Heaton’s case drew attention because police arrested him Jan. 24 on suspicion of second-degree battery, a felony. However, Prosecuting Attorney David Gibbons of the 5th Judicial District decided to charge Heaton with a misdemeanor battery count because, Gibbons said, the girl’s injuries were not severe enough to warrant a felony charge.

Heaton was arrested after his wife, Stephanie Heaton, called police and reported that he had spanked her daughter, Page Brown, and left bruises on her buttocks.

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