BY KEN LITTLE
State Rep. David Hawk, R-5th, of Greeneville, waived his arraignment this morning in Greene County Criminal Court to a felony count of reckless endangerment in connection with an incident March 18 involving Hawk's estranged wife, Crystal Goan Hawk.
Hawk, 44, was indicted on the count Monday by a Greene County Grand Jury. The grand jury issued a no-true bill on a misdemeanor charge of domestic assault against Hawk.
Judge John F. Dugger Jr. set a return court date of May 29 for Hawk, who was re-elected earlier this month to a sixth term in the Tennessee House of Representatives.
"Once again, I strongly maintain my innocence," Hawk said this morning outside the courtroom.
The language of the indictment caused some confusion as to the nature of the charge on which Hawk was indicted.
Once the matter is clarified, the charge against Hawk may be changed,
the judge said.
"The factual allegations are aggravated assault but the statute is [reckless endangerment]," Dugger said. "It's rather confusing at this point."
The reckless endangerment indictment states that Hawk "unlawfully, feloniously and recklessly, did commit an assault [by] recklessly causing bodily injury to another, a domestic assault victim, his spouse, Crystal Goan Hawk."
The indictment states that the assault "resulted in serious bodily injury to the victim."
Hawk pleaded not guilty to the domestic assault charge after it was filed in March.
After setting a return court date for Hawk, Dugger recused himself from the case. Goan, a Greeneville lawyer, represents clients in the Third Judicial District that Dugger serves.
A new judge from outside the area will be appointed through the state Administrative Office of the Courts to preside over the case.
Hawk was charged with domestic assault following an altercation with his wife early March 18 at the couple's Tusculum home, according to reports by sheriff's deputies.
Goan told deputies that her husband struck her in the face with his hand, knocking her to the ground, a report said.
Hawk said on March 19 that during the incident, "My wife had a gun and told me she was going to put a bullet in my head while I was holding my baby. At that time, I escaped to safety with my daughter."
Hawk and Goan have had no direct contact since the incident, according to testimony at a recent preliminary hearing.
Hawk remains free on bond.