Hasch denied probation; appeal to be filed

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By The Staff

SHEPHERDSVILLE - Listening to pleas from both sides, Bullitt Circuit Judge Rodney Burress called it the most difficult decision he had ever been required to make in deciding whether to grant a defendant probation.

But, citing any reduction in the jury's recommendation being a depreciation of the crime, Burress ruled Friday morning that Janice Hasch should receive a two-year prison sentence for the April 2008 shooting death of her husband.

Final sentencing was held Friday after a two-week trial in which the jury deliberated over two days before deciding Hasch, 59, was guilty of reckless homicide.

The Class D felony carries a prison penalty of 1-5 years and the jury recommended two years. Hasch was originally charged with murder, a Class A felony punishable by 20 years to life in prison.

Defense attorneys Butch Turner and Fred Friske said an appeal is ready to be filed. Until that time, Hasch is being held without bond in the Bullitt County Jail.

With the two-year sentence, she could be eligible for parole in just over three months.

Friday's hearing was again emotional.

Prosecutor Michael Mann presented three witnesses.

David Hasch, the younger brother of Jerry, said he opposed probation.

"I don't feel like probation is at all appropriate," said David Hasch. "My older brother has been taken from me."

In hearing part of the testimony, he said it was the deceased who had been put on trial.

"My brother was put on trial," said Hasch. "He was made to be a real monster."

Although there were allegations that Janice Hasch was subjected to years of verbal and physical abuse, David Hasch said he never saw any fear in her face and he never saw any of that behavior between the couple.

"He wasn't mean," said Hasch, who added a life shouldn't be taken because you don't like a person.

Anna Hasch, the victim's former wife, said the jury made the decision and that should be honored.

She said two of her grandchildren never had the opportunity to meet a very good person.

"She's never told the family she's sorry," she said of the accused.

Dana Deddens, the victim's daughter, said Janice Hasch took her father away from her years before his death.

"She took my father's life and there's no getting it back," said Deddens.

She said she couldn't sleep at night due to the nightmares of the shooting.

"I can't get the death out of my head," said Deddens. "I think you deserve to serve your full sentence. He treated you like a porcelain princess."

Janice Hasch made a brief statement to the court.

"I live with sadness and grief every single day of my life," said Hasch. "I have daily punishment. I wish I could take it back."

She said there were no options that day of the shooting.

In terms of apologizing, Hasch said she really hasn't had an opportunity, especially with the matter being in court.

"I plead for a chance," Hasch asked Burress. "I will make you very proud of me."

In his argument for probation, Turner said his client had no criminal record. He said probation, or home incarceration, would not depreciate the seriousness of the crime.

He also argued that the state's budgetary situation has put a crunch on all agencies, including corrections.

Turner said Hasch would do as much community service as the judge ordered and she would meet all the conditions of probation or home incarceration.

Mann, however, said that the jury ruled that at least Hasch acted in a reckless manner that time when she shot her husband between the eyes.

While there was an entire trial of allegations about physical abuse, Mann said no one could testify that they saw anything happen or that the defendant appeared to be bruised or injured.

With the 15 days of jail credit she had already earned, Mann said Hasch would be out of prison in around three months.

Burress said he evaluated all the circumstances involved in deciding probation.

He didn't think Hasch would be a risk to commit another crime and he wasn't able to evaluate whether treatment would be valuable to the defendant.

However, in looking at the third part of the equation, Burress said probation would depreciate the seriousness of the crime.

The judge understood the community had various opinions about the high-profile case but he respected the opinion of the jury.

"She testified that she could have left," said Burress.

In making his most difficult probation decision, Burress said Hasch should serve her two-year sentence.

Defense attorneys said they had their notice of appeal ready to file; however, that could not be done until Burress issues his final ruling.

Until that time, Hasch will reside in the Bullitt County Detention Center.

"We're very disappointed," Turner said after the decision. "We felt like she was an excellent candidate for probation."

In terms of his client's reaction, Turner said, "she's crushed."

While neither would disclose details, Turner said his appeal would be centered on some errors he felt were made during the trial.

Mann said he was disappointed when the jury did not return a more serious verdict. However, he said the jury did believe that Hasch acted in a reckless manner.

"This didn't have to happen," said Mann. "This was a homicide."

He agreed with the judge's assessment of the probation request. Mann said it would be totally inappropriate to grant probation.

Like the judge, Mann said it was important to realize that the defendant had the opportunity to walk away that day.