NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Rep. David Hawk returned to the state Legislature on Monday afternoon, just hours after his first court appearance on a misdemeanor charge of domestic violence resulted in an order for the Greeneville Republican to have no contact with his wife.
Hawk accepted handshakes and well wishes from fellow lawmakers at his desk before stepping out of the chamber to meet with reporters.
“Yesterday morning my wife had a gun and told me that she was going to put a bullet in my head while I was holding my baby,” Hawk said.
Hawk’s account of the incident stands in contrast to the criminal complaint obtained by The Greeneville Sun (http://bit.ly/ws76T2), which describes Cristal Hawk saying her husband grabbed her by the arm, struck her in the face and knocked her to ground in an altercation at their home.
Crystal Hawk said she was holding their 11-month-old daughter at the time. She said her husband then took the child and went to a neighbor’s house.
The criminal complaint states that the victim “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.”
Hawk, 43, denied striking his wife and said he didn’t know how she had received the bruises. He said he had taken his daughter out of the house following the incident and urged a neighbor to call 911, but the neighbor urged him to let the situation cool off before calling police.
The Republican lawmaker was free on $500 bond after the Monday morning hearing at which Judge Kenneth Bailey Jr. ordered him to have no contact with his wife. He was allowed supervised visits with their child.
Crystal Hawk is a Greeneville attorney and president of the Greene County Republican Women.
She told deputies the couple had been drinking on Saturday night and David Hawk became angry about 1 a.m. Sunday after looking through her cell phone, according to the sheriff’s department report.
“Throughout the course of the morning she stated they had been arguing,” the report said. She told deputies the argument culminated in her being struck at about 8 a.m.
Hawk acknowledged reading an “upsetting text message” on his wife’s cellphone after she went to bed, but declined to elaborate on the circumstances that led to the confrontation.
Hawk previously had a protection order issued against him in 2005 when ex-wife Julia Hawk accused him of stalking her. According to stories in The Greeneville Sun at the time, the couple was involved in a child custody battle and David Hawk told the paper the allegations were “an obvious attempt to harm me both personally and politically.”
The order was dismissed, at the request of Julia Hawk, on the same day the couple came to an agreement over custody.
Hawk’s next court hearing on the domestic assault charge is scheduled for May 21. Judge Bailey, who knows both David and Crystal Hawk, stated that he will ask the state Administrative Office of the Courts to appoint a special judge to hear the case.
Gov. Bill Haslam is promoting a bill to stiffen penalties for domestic violence. The bill adds fines and mandatory jail time for second and subsequent convictions of domestic assault.
Asked about it on Monday, Haslam said, “Domestic violence is a serious issue in Tennessee and that’s why we brought up the policies that we did. … In regards to Rep. Hawk’s case, I obviously don’t know enough to have any comment.”
House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick, R-Chattanooga, also declined to comment.