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Hay cops plea in sex, drug cases

By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor

A saga that began with a 3:30 am traffic stop on March 24, 2014, ended at the 198th District Court in Bandera on Tuesday, July 16. Rather than roll the dice with a jury of his peers, Nathan Hay plead guilty to possession with intent to deliver 400 grams of methamphetamine and aggravated sexual assault of a child.
In a plea agreement worked out with District Attorney Scott Monroe and Hay’s defense attorney Anton “Tony” Hackebeil of Medina County, District Judge Rex Emerson sentenced Hay to 40 years on both charges to be served concurrently in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Additionally, Emerson allowed Hay 656 days and 653 days of time credit. Hay must also pay court costs amounting to $1,308.
However, if found guilty in a trial, Hay faced a maximum of 99 years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000 for both first-degree felony charges.
In an interview, Monroe said the plea deal had been worked out with permission from the sexual assault victim and her family.
Back story
Hay ran afoul of the law in March 2014 when City of Bandera Deputy Marshal Earl Heidelberg stopped a motorist on Highway 173 South for reckless driving. The juvenile female at the wheel of the Suburban turned out to be Hay’s stepdaughter, who was only 14 years old at the time. Hay was unconscious in the backseat of the vehicle.
Additionally, reports indicated that the teenager was under the influence at the time of the traffic stop. Later, law enforcement officers discovered narcotics in her backpack.
Deputies with the Bandera County Sheriff’s Office responded to Heidelberg’s call for assistance. After regaining consciousness, Hay became agitated and refused to give officers consent to search the vehicle.
After a search warrant was obtained, BCSO Sgt. Gerald “Jerry” Johnson arrived with a K-9 dog trained to detect the presence of drugs. In short order, the dog alerted to drugs, giving officers probable cause for a vehicle search.
Officers quickly discovered a cache in the rear back quarter panel of the Suburban. Inventoried items included a hot plate, a blue bag filled with a clear, crystal-like substance, four glass jars, a substance that resembled marijuana, stove fuel and tubing and precursors to methamphetamine production such as iodine and ephedrine, as well as a respirator, among other items. To veteran law enforcement officers, the discovered stash resembled a mobile meth lab.
A later attempt by Hackebeil to have the search declared illegal proved futile.
Supplying meth for sex
A subsequent investigation revealed that Hay had been supplying his stepdaughter with meth in exchange for sex.
In May 2014, a Bandera County Grand Jury indicted Hay for manufacture and delivery of more than 200, but less than 400, grams of a Penalty Group 1 controlled substance; possession of chemicals used in the production of methamphetamine; and child endangerment.
In October 2014, he was also charged with continuous sexual abuse of a child, sexual assault of a child and prohibited sexual contact. He was later indicted on those charges as well and remanded to the county jail without bond, awaiting trial.
After entering the guilty plea this week, Hay will remain in county lockup until his transfer to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
Although a previous jury had deliberated just 15 minutes before finding him competent to stand trial, Hay seemed determined to have his fate decided in court. A jury was impaneled the morning of Tuesday, July 19. However, before court reconvened after a late lunch break, it was apparent a plea deal was in the air.
‘Won’t be
report & walk’
To a question on the procedure, 198th Assistant District Attorney Steven Harpold noted, “Any plea arrangement will come with a minimum sentence that must be served. Mr. Hay won’t get a ‘report and walk,’ I can assure you.”
When court reconvened at 3:20 pm, Hackebeil told Judge Emerson his client was ready to enter a plea and waive his rights on the felony charges. By entering into a plea bargain with the State of Texas, Hay cannot appeal the court’s sentence.
After the plea agreement was in place, Hay’s former stepdaughter offered a victim’s impact statement as excruciating to hear as it was to render.
She noted that it was Hay, her stepfather, who got her addicted to methamphetamines at the age of 13. “First it was every weekend then everyday. I became a fulltime user and depended on it to survive. I got the drug if he got my body. He’d shoot me up and have his way.”
Describing herself as “sorrowful, broken and destroyed,” the young woman told the court that, at age 13, she weighed just 97 pounds, wore long sleeves to hide needle marks and had stayed up 17 days in a row. Later, she dropped out of school.
At this point in her narrative, the young woman broke down and Harpold finished her statement. At times, her words proved difficult for him, too.
“I lost my way down a dark road and was on the cruel drug for three years,” Harpold read. “My question (to Hay) is: How’s it feel? How’s it feel to know that I made it and you didn’t? How disappointing it was for a little girl when her father turned out to be you.”
‘Will be old man’
According to Monroe, Hay must complete at least 25 percent of the drug sentence before requesting parole. “As for the other, we refer to it as a 3G offense. This means Hay has to complete at least half the sentence before the word ‘parole’ passes his lips.
“But, it’s been my experience in these instances, inmates must usually complete 75 to 80 percent of their sentences before being eligible for parole. Hay will be an old man before he’s released from prison.”
The 3G offenses include, among other serious crimes, murder, capital murder, murder in specific aggravating circumstances, indecency with a child by contact and aggravated sexual assault.
As for further court appearances by Hay, Monroe indicated there would be no more trials. “As far as I’m concerned, he’s gone – unless more of his criminal activity comes to light. Then we’d be more than happy to open another investigation.”
Monroe then lauded the strength and resolve of Hay’s former stepdaughter, saying, “This was a vindication for her. That was one of the most poignant victim impact statements I’ve ever heard. She really smacked it out of the park. It’s time for her to close the book on this and begin the next chapter of her life.”