Ex-principal admits hitting wife, gets conditional discharge

Ex-principal admits hitting wife, gets conditional discharge

URBANA — The former principal of a Douglas County school who admitted hitting his wife has been sentenced to conditional discharge.

Brian L. Hatfield, 42, of St. Joseph pleaded guilty Friday before Champaign County Judge Richard Klaus to misdemeanor domestic battery in connection with an incident that happened in the early morning hours of Jan. 18 in Urbana.

Police said that about 1:20 a.m. that day, Hatfield and his wife Jessica Hatfield, 35, had an argument in the parking lot of the Circle K at 1809 N. Cunningham Ave., U. Witnesses told officers that Hatfield struck his wife, grabbed her by the neck, threw her in the back of a vehicle and left. One of the witnesses called 911.

Police said the couple had been out to dinner and had been drinking earlier.

A sheriff's deputy stopped their vehicle on Interstate 74 near the St. Joseph exit. He noted a bump on Jessica Hatfield's head and blood on her face and in her hair. She was seated behind Hatfield and told the deputy that Brian Hatfield hit her. Hatfield was then arrested.

In mid-February, he resigned as principal at Arthur-Lovington Junior-Senior High School in Arthur. He had been there less than two years.

State's Attorney Julia Rietz said Hatfield was sentenced to a year of conditional discharge, a form of probation that does not require the defendant to regularly report to a probation officer. He was also fined $200 and ordered to get partner abuse counseling within 60 days.

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