Smithfield woman accused of beating two children accepts plea deal

Booking photo for Melinda R. Stash (Courtesy: Cache County Jail).

LOGAN — A 47-year-old Smithfield woman accused of beating or choking two children has accepted a plea deal. Melinda R. Stash was arrested last September and later released on $10,000 bond.

Stash participated in a virtual hearing in 1st District Court Monday morning, appearing by web conference with her attorney. She pleaded “no contest” to one count of child abuse, a second-degree felony. While she technically did not admit guilt, it is viewed just as a “guilty” plea in court.

According to a Smithfield City police statement, the victim told officers that Stash had “whacked” them with a belt before school. They also described how she grabbed them by the neck, and “jabbed” her thumbs into their jaw to the point they could not breathe.

The victim showed investigators wounds and marks on their body, consistent with the abuse claims.

Officers interviewed a second child, who corroborated the victim’s story. They explained how Stash grabbed the first child by the neck. They also disclosed being spanked with a belt and unknown object.

The report stated that both children were checked by medical staff. The examination resulted in the discovery of substantial wounds and abrasions on both children, all over their bodies.

During Monday’s hearing, defense attorney Christian Hansen said Stash accepted the plea deal and pleaded “no contest” because they recognized the credibility of the victims’ testimony.

Stash will be sentenced Oct. 28. She could face up to 15-years in prison.

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