Legislator Was Back
In Nashville Monday;
Speaker Of House
Comments On Case
BY KRISTEN BUCKLES
The Greene County Sheriff's Department has received no official indication that a gun was involved during the domestic altercation Sunday between state Rep. David Hawk and his wife, according to the initial and followup reports.
Hawk was arrested by the Sheriff's Department and charged with domestic assault on Sunday in connection with the altercation.
Hawk, R-5th, of Greeneville, has denied the domestic assault charges filed against him and has alleged that his wife, Crystal Goan Hawk, threatened him with a gun.
He pleaded not guilty to the charges at an initial appearance Monday morning in Greene County General Sessions Court.
After making bond following the court appearance, he said in a formal statement that:
"I am innocent and did not do what has been alleged against me. I did not harm my wife.
"Yesterday [Sunday], 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."
However, Sheriff's Dept. Records Clerk Rhonda Whittenburg said on Monday that there is no indication in the reports of the incident that David Hawk or his wife, Crystal Goan Hawk, included any mention of a gun in any statement to the investigating deputies on Sunday.
"I've heard what my husband has said, and it is simply a material misrepresentation of the facts," Crystal Hawk told The Greeneville Sun on Monday afternoon in response to her husband's statement.
"At this time, for my daughter's safety, I am requesting privacy for my family, which would include myself, as well as my husband, out of respect for both he and I."
According to the initial reports by deputies, Crystal Hawk told deputies the couple had been drinking on Saturday night when her husband became angry around 1 a.m., Sunday after "looking through her [Crystal Hawk's] cell phone."
The argument reportedly continued throughout the early morning hours, culminating, she said, when he allegedly struck her in the face about 8 a.m.
The criminal complaint filed against David Hawk in connection with the domestic assault charge alleges that he grabbed Crystal Hawk by the arm, "striking her in the face, causing injury and knocking her to the ground."
Crystal Hawk "had bruising and swelling on and around her right eye, an abrasion (to) the upper and lower right side of her lip, and a large bruise on her left upper arm," the complaint states.
She reported that she had her 11-month-old daughter in her arms when she fell from the alleged strike, at which time she said her husband "took the child from her and went to a neighbor's house."
Crystal Hawk then reported that she went to a friend's house, where deputies later spoke to her.
Deputies located David Hawk at the couple's home, where he was taken into custody and held overnight until his initial court appearance on Monday morning.
'NO UNUSUAL TREATMENT'
Sheriff Steve Burns stated on Monday evening that Rep. Hawk received no unusual treatment during his time in Sheriff's Department custody.
The sheriff said that Hawk was only brought up early to the courtroom ahead of other inmates on Monday morning because his attorney, Jerry Laughlin, had requested to speak with him before the court session began.
"We would have done it for anybody," Burns said, also pointing out that other inmates were in the courtroom during the proceedings.
JUDGE RECUSES HIMSELF
In court, David Hawk pleaded not guilty to the charges and waived the reading of the arrest warrant, but declined further comment in court until after posting his $500 bail.
At that time he released his statement to the news media, including the reference to a gun.
Judge Kenneth Bailey Jr. ordered that David Hawk have no contact with his wife, and limited him to supervised visitation with their child.
Bailey, who is married to Hawk's first former wife and who knows the couple, recused himself from any further involvement in the case.
Crystal Hawk is the five-term state representative's third wife.
She is a Greeneville attorney and president of the Greene County Republican Women.
Julia A. Hawk, also a former wife of Rep. Hawk, filed an order of protection against him during their 2005 divorce proceedings that was dismissed about a month later after the couple settled on their parenting plan out of court.
In her petition for the order of protection, she alleged that he had "stalked" her on a day she had custody of the couple's child, an allegation which David Hawk denied.
Rep. Hawk's next court appearance is scheduled for May 21.
STATEMENT BY SPEAKER
Meanwhile, the Associated Press reported that David Hawk returned to his role as state legislator in Nashville on Monday, accepting "handshakes and well wishes from fellow lawmakers at his desk."
Hawk also told reporters that he had read an "upsetting text message" on his wife's cell phone, according to the AP report.
Speaker of the House Beth Harwell, R-56th, of Nashville, said in a statement Monday that she is aware of Hawk's situation.
"We are very concerned about this," Harwell said in the e-mailed statement to The Greeneville Sun.
"This is a horrible situation, and we are praying for the family through this terrible ordeal. The appropriate action will be taken, and we will have further comments to make at the appropriate time," the Speaker said.
Harwell declined to offer further details at this time on what actions could be taken in such a matter.
Hawk filed earlier this month to be a candidate for re-election in the Aug. 2 State Republican Primary Election.
He is chairman of the Conservation and Environment Committee in the Tennessee House of Representatives.
Hawk is also a member of the Finance, Ways and Means Committee, and the Calendar and Rules Committee.
The 5th District, which Hawk represents, was reapportioned last month and now encompasses about 90 percent of Greene County -- all but a handful of precincts in the westernmost part of the county.
Currently, Hawk's district includes the eastern portion of Greene County and all of Unicoi County.
HAS OPPOSED DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
As a legislator, Hawk has spoken at several fundraising events or awareness-raising events against domestic violence, perhaps the most recent of which was in October 2011, at the grand opening of Charity Treasures.
The thrift store, at 112 Austin St., is part of the financial support of ASafeHarborHome, Inc., a non-profit organization providing services to victims of domestic violence.
"[David Hawk] addressed the legal side of the issue and the need to maintain and strengthen laws to protect and assist victims of domestic violence while providing proper punishment to the perpetrators of the crime," according to a news release that followed the grand-opening event.
Staff Writer Ken Little contributed to this report.