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Miller issues life sentence in child rape

STEUBENVILLE – Shawn A. Hoagland, 32, was sentenced by Jefferson County Common Pleas Judge Michelle Miller on Thursday to life in prison without parole eligibility for 15 years after pleading guilty for his part in the rape of a 7-year-old girl.

Hoagland pleaded guilty to rape, gross sexual imposition and sexual battery.

Brandy Depew, 29, of New Waterford, Hoagland’s girlfriend, pleaded guilty in May to complicity to rape, complicity to gross sexual imposition and complicity to sexual battery. Miller gave her the same sentence as Hoagland.

County Assistant Prosecutor Jeffrey Bruzzese read a statement from the victim’s father.

“My daughter has been hurt in a way that no child should have to go through. She has nightmares and can’t sleep at night. She’s scared that you will hurt her again. Every time I see her, it breaks my heart to know the pain and fear that she goes through everyday. You have hurt my daughter more than any child should be hurt. I hope you get help. You are a sick, sick man to do what you did. But I’ll pray for you.”

Bruzzese said these types of crimes destroy families and relationships.

“They destroy young lives before those lives can get going,” Bruzzese said.

Defense attorney Bernard Battistel said Hoagland was motivated to change his plea to guilty to spare the victim from having to testify at trial.

Miller told Hoagland the victim has a life sentence.

“This little girl is never going to get over this,” Miller said.

Hoagland, if and when he is released from prison, will be classified as a Tier III sexual offender, requiring him to report his address to the county sheriff where he is working or living every 90 days for life.

Dawn E. Liggett Hutchison, 50, of 2101 Myers Ave., who was arrested for stabbing her husband in the back, was sentenced to 18 months in prison by Miller.

But Hutchison may be released from prison in about 30 days and placed in an in-patient mental health facility in Logan.

City Police were called around 10:17 p.m. on Feb. 21 to her house and found Jeffrey Hutchison, 40, with wounds to the face and a deep knife wound to the back. Hutchison was driven to the county airport where he was placed into a STAT MedEvac helicopter and flown to a Pittsburgh hospital with the knife still in his back.

Hutchison pleaded guilty to an amended charge of aggravated assault.

Hutchison was placed on three years of probation on Feb. 5 by Miller after Liggett pleaded guilty to a charge of felony resisting arrest, which could have resulted in serious physical harm.

Hutchison was threatening suicide when she was shot in the leg on May 25, 2015, after she wrestled with a City Police officer for control of a gun.

Police reported Hutchison earlier that night was involved in a verbal argument with her husband inside a city home and she fired several shots inside the house.

Jeffrey Hutchison, who married Dawn Hutchison on May 9, 2015, wasn’t injured, police reported. She also had been charged with hitting her husband in the head with a skillet.

Bruzzese said Dawn and Jeffrey Hutchison won’t be allowed to be together until a counselor and the court approve the reunification.

(Law can be contacted at mlaw@heraldstaronline.com.)

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