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Hasch gets 2 years for shooting

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Woman had faced murder charge after shooting husband last April

By The Staff

SHEPHERDSVILLE - After deliberating for eight hours into Thursday evening, an eight-woman, four-man jury found Janice Hasch guilty of reckless homicide in the April 14, 2008, shooting death of her husband, Jerry.

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And the jury spent another two hours on Friday before recommending a sentence of two years on the conviction.

Final sentencing in the case will occur on March 6.

Janice Hasch, 58, remains free on a $300,000 bond awaiting sentencing.

She was originally charged with murder and could have received a sentence of 20 years to life in prison.

Under the recommended sentence, Hasch could serve 3 1/2 months before being eligible for parole.

Members of the victim's family did not wish to comment to the media following the verdict.

Attorneys from both sides gave closing arguments and the jury went out to begin deliberations at about 2:35 p.m. on Thursday.

Hasch was accused of the April 14, 2008, shooting death of her husband, Jerry.

Commonwealth attorney Michael Mann said that the entire defense case had been built upon making Jerry Hasch look like a monster.

Instead, he said the defendant crafted a series of lies to make the jury feel sympathy.

Playing a portion of the 24-minute taped interview with Det. Scotty McGaha, Mann said she never mentioned much of the testimony she gave on the witness stand.

He said she mentioned on several occasions the opportunity to leave the home that day and that she had other options.

Also, he said she never mentioned having a fight over the gun in the kitchen or being backed into the bedroom. Instead, Mann said she only talked about bring the handgun into the living room.

All the witnesses were brought into the courtroom to make the jury believe that Jerry Hasch constantly beat his wife.

But, to the contrary, Mann said no witness could say that they saw bruises on the victim.

Plus, there was no medical evidence presented. In his years of prosecuting cases, he's never seen a case where a 58-year-old woman had been sodomized and not required medical treatment.

He also said the stories about the actual day of the shooting were made up by the defendant. Jerry did not consume any alcohol that day, according to the medical examiner, and he was not shot in a downward motion if he was standing up.

If Hasch would have told McGaha all the information presented for the first time to the jury, Mann said the investigation might have gone in another direction.

He asked the jury to see through the stories and understand that the facts are clear that Janice Hasch was angry and she did intend to murder her husband that day.   

Defense attorney Butch Turner says there had been two versions presented in the death of Jerald Hasch on April 14, 2008.

While the prosecution has relied upon a 24-minute interview, the facts in the case prove that Janice Hasch was acting in self-protection when she shot her husband in their home off Bells Mill Road.

During the morning session on Thursday, Turner presented the jury with his closing arguments.

The jury will then have a chance to deliberate the case. Under instructions given by Circuit Judge Rodney Burress, Hasch could be found guilty of charges ranging from murder to reckless homicide or she could be acquitted of all charges.

During his tearful closing argument, Turner said there was much documentation of his client's version. He said she had been abused both physically and verbally for years.

In the afternoon of April 14, 2008, he said Janice Hasch thought that if her husband had gotten control of the handgun she found in the closet, she would have lost her life.

He recounted the events of the year leading up to the death. He said Janice found a gun that had been lost and thought her husband would be pleased. Instead, she testified that he started to walk toward her and the two scuffled in the kitchen.

She was able to retain possession of the gun and retreated to the bedroom before forcing Jerry toward the front door at gunpoint.

Turner said that if the deceased had just allowed Janice to walk out the front door, nothing would have happened.

"Jerry was trying to take the weapon from her," said Turner. "She feared the worst possible scenario."

While the jury will have a variety of options, Turner asked that they not compromise because self-protection is listed in each charge.

"She does not deserve to go to the penitentiary," said    Turner. "It was reasonable to believe that Jerry would hurt her if he got the gun away from her."

It's extremely important that this ends today for her," said Turner. "After today, she's able to go home and get on with a normal life."

See Monday's edition of The Pioneer News and www.pioneernews.net for the full story.

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2/18: Hasch denies telling two stories

Janice Hasch said she didn’t want to shoot her husband on April 14, 2008.

However, she said she had been literally backed into a corner of their Robin Court home off Bells Mill Road.

The shooting of Jerry Hasch ended what she called an abusive marriage for most of their 22-year marriage.

But commonwealth attorney Michael Mann inquired whether Hasch wanted the jury to believe the story she told Det. Scotty McGaha on the night of the shooting or the one she had told on the witness stand the past couple of days.

Hasch, who is charged with murder, ended her direct testimony and then went through five hours of cross-examination from Mann on Tuesday.

The Bullitt Circuit Court jury is expected to begin deliberation as early as Thursday.

“The 14th is the most difficult day of my life,” Hasch said on Tuesday.

During her previous testimony, Hasch talked about the years of verbal and physical abuse she suffered from her husband. However, she said, those acts were hidden from outsiders.

Under questioning from defense attorney Butch Turner, Hasch recalled the events of April 14, 2008, when she shot her husband.

Returning from a three-day car show trip to Tennessee, she said her husband woke up angry on April 14.

After eating breakfast, she left him to read the newspaper while she went to the post office to mail the tax returns and do some shopping.

After lunch, she decided to clean up the bedroom closet since her shoes and clothes had encroached onto her husband’s side of the closet.

She said he wanted to clear the air and made some margaritas around 1 p.m.

She returned to her cleaning when she found a handgun, which had been lost for about six months.

Walking out to the living room, Hasch testified that she showed him the gun, which was still in its pouch. Instead of being happy with the discovery, she said he quickly got out of the recliner and started to move toward her.

“He was so evil,” said Hasch. “I was scared to death.”

She said he pushed her so hard that she fell and hit her head on the refrigerator, causing a dent. She said there was a struggle for the gun. Although her husband was much bigger, she said she was wiry and retained possession of the gun.

Hasch said she was backed into the bedroom and tried to lock the door, which the victim pushed open hard enough to cause a hole in the drywall.

In the corner, Hasch said she took the gun out of the case and started to point it at the man who was chanting “give me the gun.”

“I want to go out the front door,” Hasch said she told her husband.

“You better shoot and you better shoot to kill,” she said her husband said as he retreated back into the living room.

“He was going to kill me,” remembered Hasch. “This can’t be the last day of my life.”

When he made a lunge for the gun, she said she took the pistol in her left hand, closed her eyes and fired.

Thinking she missed, she said he was within inches of her when he collapsed.

“It was very apparent I had shot him. I could see so, so much blood,” she told the jury.

Calling 911, she turned her husband on his side and prayed that he would live.

“If he had gotten that gun...it would have been the end of me,” said told her attorney.

While she told McGaha that she had snapped, Hasch said that was not correct.

“I didn’t snap,” said Hasch. “I’m fully accountable for my action. I only tried to stop this tragedy.”

She added, “I am very aware of everything that happened that day. I never lost control of myself.”

However, Mann said he was confused as to why Hasch didn’t tell McGaha of the entire story that happened in the house.

During her taped interview, parts of which were replayed for the jury, she mentioned the confrontation in the living room, where the death occurred.

“He never ask the question,” Hasch explained.

However, Mann, who started his cross-examination with questions over the specific incidents of abuse, said that during the interview, McGaha asked her to tell him what happened.

Also, Mann said, McGaha didn’t ask about the specifics that Hasch told him.

She also denied the taped statement where she told McGaha on at least a couple of occasions that she could have gotten out of the house.

Despite the different stories, Hasch said she didn’t think the two versions were that much different.

“You had the opportunity to tell the detective your story but you didn’t,” said Mann.

Her only concern was to get to the hospital because she didn’t know if her husband was dead or alive.

She told Mann that no one knew about the abuse. She didn’t tell anyone in her family or any of her neighbors or classic car friends.

“I would not share this with anyone,” said Hasch.

Hasch said that throughout the years, she had left the home on several occasions. She even drove back from the annual winter vacation in Florida. But she always returned.

During the cross-examination, Jerry Hasch’s will was brought up for a second time in the trial.

Hasch said the couple did sign a pre-nuptial agreement in 1986 but she wasn’t too concerned. She said she had the financial ability to survive on her own if the couple ever divorced.

But under the will, the estate valued at over $1.5 million could be divided a number of ways depending upon who were the survivors.

Mann said that if she is acquitted, she could receive a majority of the estate. If convicted, she would get much less.

Although she testified about the frequent beatings and even a rape and sodomy on Aug. 23, 2007, she never sought medical attention.

She said her husband had so much control over her, she couldn’t escape.

Hasch told Mann that she was not angry with her husband and he never mentioned getting a divorce.

“I was angry at the circumstances,” said Hasch. “I was angry that it had to come to this.”

She told the jury that the look in her husband’s face was pure terror.

“I have this to live with the rest of my life,” said Hasch. “I did not murder Jerry.”

The jury will return on Wednesday morning for more testimony and possibly some rebuttal witnesses. The jury could begin deliberations as early as Thursday.

Hasch, who is free on bond, is facing 20 years to life in prison if convicted of the murder charge.

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2/14: Hasch testifies of abuse

SHEPHERDSVILLE - No witness could testify that they had seen Jerry Hasch physically abuse his wife, Janice.

Yet, she said it happened.

Janice Hasch is currently on trial in Bullitt Circuit Court for the April 2008 murder of her husband.

Late Friday afternoon, Hasch took the stand to tell the jurors about the unseen life she experienced with the victim, especially over the last 12 years of their relationship.

Hasch, who will continue her testimony and also be subject to cross-examination on Tuesday, said that the couple met in 1981 and were married on Valentine Day in 1986. Calling themselves as career-oriented people, she said that they really never spent a whole lot of time together until he forced her to retire with him in 1996.

"He was demanding," said Hasch. "I had my independent side. Somehow we made it work."

However, she said in the last 10 years, she suffered from physical abuse, especially when she failed to do what she was told and when she talked back to her husband.

"It started with smacking and that constant screaming in my ears," said Hasch. "I am so ashamed of this testimony."

She alleged that he would get angry and strike her but he never said that he was sorry.

In 2004, she sought treatment for nervous anxiety and was placed on medication.

The main problem was that her husband was very demanding and stayed on a very strict schedule. In fact, she said he had a grading system each day to determine how she had done.

"I had begged on bended knees to please get some help for his anger," said Hasch.

The violence got worse as the marriage progressed but she hid it from her friends and never told anyone.

They liked to travel and things were normally better during the trips; however, during a 2008 winter trip to Florida she actually drove home to escape his treatment. Several days later, however, she admitted returning back to her husband with the promise of making sure the behavior would stop.

Defense attorney Butch Turner inquired why the couple didn't consider divorce or separation.

"The word divorce shot fire through him like lightning," said Hasch. "But the word separation would become acceptable."

When she returned to Florida, Hasch said she would give the marriage one more chance.

Over the course of the first three days of testimony presented by commonwealth attorney Michael Mann, the story was much different.

From the opening statement, Mann said there was no doubt that on April 14, 2008, Hasch shot and killed her husband with a single bullet to the head.

Amy Beckham, assistant state medical examiner, said the single gunshot wound was the cause of death. She said the victim was shot from 2-24 inches away.

Det. Scotty McGaha of the Bullitt County Sheriff's Department interviewed Janice Hasch shortly after the shooting.

During the interview, he said she admitted shooting her 65-year-old husband of 22 years with a handgun found in the bedroom closet.

She claimed that he grabbed her hand hard and told her that if she was going to shoot him, she better do it between his eyes.

"He knows I am a markswoman," Hasch said in her interview. "I shot him right between the eyes."

She told McGaha that she could have left the home because she's done it in the past. This time, however, she said, "I snapped."

"I just couldn't help myself," Hasch told McGaha.

She said there had been hundreds of domestic fights but she only called police on a couple of occasions.

Bullitt County dispatcher LaToka Redden said she was working on Aug. 17, 2007, when Hasch called. The jury listened to the 911 tape as Hasch said police better arrive soon or she was going to kill her husband. After the phone line disconnected, Redden called back and Jerry Hasch answered and said his wife was bi-polar and police were not needed.

Deputies were dispatched to the scene.

Amber Allen was working as a dispatcher on Aug. 23, 2007, when there was a call and hang-up to 911. In calling back the number, Janice Hasch said there was no problem and hung up again.

Jason Ellison, a sheriff's deputy, responded to both of those incidents.

In the first run, Ellison said she admitted threatening to kill her husband so he took her to a hotel to cool off that evening.

On the second case, Ellison said everything appeared to be calm and in order. No action was needed.

Marke Richardson was the dispatcher on April 14, 2008, when Hasch called.

I shot my husband. I shot him between the eyes," Hasch said on the taped call. "Get somebody here. Tell me what to do... He's struggling bad."

The victim was having trouble breathing but was still alive when Bullitt County EMS arrived and was then airlifted to Louisville, where he eventually died.

Several neighbors to the Hasch couple, who lived on Robin Court off Bells Mill Road, but none reported seeing any physical violence.

Many of those called by Turner as witnesses were car cruise friends and street rod enthusiasts.

James McDonald thought Jerry Hasch was arrogant and had an angry, controlling attitude.

Donna Williams didn't like Jerry Hasch after the first 10 minutes she met him. She said the troubles with her neighbor caused the construction of a privacy fence. During the last three years, she was concerned about Janice's safety.

"I had no doubt in my mind what was going on inside the house," said Williams, who admitted to Mann that she had never seen any signs of violence.

Butch Williams said he called Janice's son, Brad Miles, after seeing sheriff's deputies come to the home in August 2007.

Retired Kentucky State Police trooper Nellis Willhite said he was asked by Donna Williams to see if he could find a way to contact Miles. He tried unsuccessfully to find the son and, given the limited information provided by Williams, Willhite said he probably wouldn't think the police would get involved.

Karen Foster was concerned during a 2007 car show trip to Michigan. During a dinner, Janice Hasch spilled part of the dinner in her lap and Jerry Hasch pulled her up away from the table. Foster said she didn't think that was proper. But, during cross-examination, she said she had never seen any bruising on the defendant.

David Strickler was a very close friend of the victim. He knew how Jerry acted and he accepted that.

During the 2008 winter trip to Florida, he said Hasch admitted giving his wife drugs to supplement what the doctor was prescribing.

He also failed to see any signs of physical abuse.

Harold Rountree of Shepherdsville owns a body shop and worked with Hasch to build several street rods over the years.

He testified that Jerry admitted mistreating his wife and that it was getting really bad just days before the shooting. Rountree said his friend felt it would be necessary to leave the home due to the violence and the fear he might do something to really hurt his wife.

He also admitted giving his friends some of his own medication on two occasions as Jerry Hasch was supplying them to his wife.

After a recess, Rountree admitted that he now knew it was illegal to give prescription medication to someone else.

Kim Giles, one of the two EMTs who treated Janice Hasch the day of the shooting, said that the woman told her of the domestic violence suffered over the years.

She said she was clearing the bedroom and found the handgun in the closet. She took it to the next room and then shot her husband.

In assessing Hasch, she noticed a small superficial scratch on her right hand and some bruising on the inner thighs.

Jerry Hasch's daughters from his first marriage, Dana Deddins and Minerva Suffridge, were called by the defense to testify about their father.

Dana refuted allegations that she had a drug problem and that she was estranged from her father over the past 10 years. She said they spoke over the phone and at family functions but that her 8-year-old son did not meet his grandfather.

She denied pursuing the criminal charges due to impact on her father's will.

Suffridge said she remained in contact with her father and stepmother and often visited. But she denied telling people at the funeral home that her sister would be there only is she was on drugs. Instead, she said her sister was on prescribed medication.

She also denied telling Carol and Tom Schultz about her concerns over bruises seen on Janice Hasch. She also denied the importance of the jury verdict in the settlement of the estate.

Carol Schultz refuted that statement, saying that Suffridge did call her about some property at Rough River and also said she confronted her father about the bruises and he said they came only from constraining Janice.

Rebecca and John Hurst, neighbors of the couple, said Deddins told them at the funeral home that she was abused as a child by her father.

The daughter denied those allegations previously on the stand.

Miles said he would visit his mother's home over the past five years only on special occasions.

He never suspected any physical abuse but the visits were also scheduled.

"The signs were there but I guess I didn't believe my mom would put up with any type of abuse," said Miles.

He didn't notice any abuse and his mother wouldn't complain about anything, said Miles. He added she didn't seem to be the strong person he knew over the past 10 years, although he was aware she was on some type of medication.

Private investigator Mike Ober brought the biggest piece of evidence to the courtroom - a refrigerator door with a dent.

He also presented a piece of drywall behind a door showing a repair made to a hole supposedly caused by a door opening too far.