A Bowling Green man accused of hitting the mother of his children with a loaded gun pleaded guilty in a domestic assault case.
Prince Bennett, 27, entered an Alford plea Tuesday in Warren Circuit Court to a count of second-degree assault.
The assault charge stemmed from a July 29 incident in the parking lot of Abell Court Apartments on Old Barren River Road.
Bennett was accused of hitting the woman with a handgun while she was in a vehicle that had recently arrived at the apartment complex, police said.
She was treated at a hospital in Bowling Green and later at a trauma center in Nashville for a broken orbital bone, court records said.
The Bowling Green Police Department arrested Bennett on Aug. 14 in that incident on charges of first-degree assault and first-degree wanton endangerment, and police brought additional charges against him the next month after more allegations of violence surfaced.
A Warren County grand jury indicted Bennett in October on a count of first-degree assault, two counts of second-degree assault, two counts of fourth-degree assault, three counts of first-degree wanton endangerment and a count of first-degree strangulation.
The same person was named as the victim in each of the assault counts.
As the case progressed through circuit court, though, the alleged victim wrote multiple email messages to Warren Circuit Judge John Grise recanting prior statements incriminating Bennett on social media.
“She made some Facebook posts and told some family members and then later recanted,” Bennett’s attorney, Kevin Goff, said in video of Tuesday’s hearing. “I would anticipate she would testify favorably for Mr. Bennett ... in light of her recent statements.”
Statements from eyewitnesses to the July 29 incident and video surveillance footage from the apartment complex parking lot would likely have been introduced as evidence in Bennett’s trial, which would have started May 12.
Goff said audio of a recorded phone call made by Bennett from the Warren County Regional Jail provided to him Monday incriminated Bennett “to some degree” and would not have helped his case.
Court filings indicate that Bennett had been visiting a therapist, following their recommendations, undergoing counseling for anger management and had expressed interest in parenting classes.
During Tuesday’s hearing, Bennett said he and the alleged victim were no longer together.
In an Alford plea, a defendant denies allegations of wrongdoing but acknowledges that enough evidence exists for a jury to return a guilty verdict. The plea agreement recommends a five-year prison sentence, with the Warren County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office opposing probation.
Bennett is scheduled to be sentenced May 25.
– Follow courts reporter Justin Story on Twitter @jstorydailynews or visit bgdailynews.com.