By Patti Weaver


  (Stillwater, Okla.) — A former Ripley man avoided a jury trial this week on a felony child abuse charge by pleading guilty to a prosecution-reduced charge of misdemeanor domestic assault and battery in the presence of a minor, court records show.
    Carl Herbert Tucker IV, 38, who now lives in Independence, KS., was sentenced to a six-month jail term that he had already served, ordered to provide a DNA sample and assessed a $500 fine along with court costs by Payne County Associate District Judge Stephen Kistler last week.
    A joint child abuse investigation had been initiated on Feb. 5, 2019, by the Payne County Department of Human Services and the Payne County Sheriff’s Office, according to an affidavit by Sheriff’s Investigator Rockford Brown.
    At 6 am that day, Tucker had turned on the bedroom light of his girlfriend’s two children at their residence to wake them to get ready for school, the affidavit alleged.
    When the 11-year-old girl was slow to rise, Tucker spanked her several times on the hind end, then grabbed her by the neck, pushed her against the wall and began strangling her for several seconds before hitting her with his open right hand, the affidavit alleged.
    The girl said she felt light-headed after being strangled as if she might pass out, the affidavit alleged. The girl also told medical staff at OU Children’s Hospital that she experienced difficulty swallowing and breathing after the incident, the affidavit alleged.
    When the sheriff’s investigator spoke to Tucker by phone a week later, Tucker admitted he spanked the girl and open-handedly struck her in the face, but “was adamant in denying that he strangled,” the girl, the affidavit alleged.
    Tucker said that he lost his temper and open-handed hit the girl on the left side of her face, the affidavit alleged.
    Tucker said, “no, I don’t condone it, and yes I did do it,” the affidavit alleged.
    The following week, Tucker turned himself into the Payne County Sheriff’s Office and was jailed for six months until he posted bail after it was lowered from $30,000 to $15,000, court records show.