By STACY MILLBERG - firstname.lastname@example.org
The wife of Ashtabula County Common Pleas Juvenile and Probate Judge Charles Hague pleaded guilty, Wednesday, to one count of felonious assault in the September poisoning of the judge.
In a pretrial hearing in Ashtabula County Common Pleas Court, Carla Hague, 71, withdrew her initial “not guilty” plea to one count of contaminating a substance for human consumption and one count of attempted murder.
As part of the plea agreement with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, the original attempted murder charge was reduced to felonious assault, a second-degree felony, and the contaminating a substance for human consumption charge was dismissed.
Hague was sentenced to two years in the Ohio Reformatory for Women in Marysville. She will be eligible for judicial release after serving six full months. Hague is also required to pay a $12,500 fine as well as court costs.
Hague was indicted in December after allegations surfaced that she poisoned the judge with ethylene glycol, more commonly known as anti-freeze.
“In September, I made the terrible decision to put a chemical in a drink that my husband would consume,” she said.
Hague said she knew it would make the judge ill, but did it because she thought it would make him stop drinking. Court officials said the anti-freeze was administered in a glass of wine.
“I deeply regret everything and I beg the forgiveness of my husband, children and grandchildren,” she said. “This I ask from the bottom of my heart.”
Leigh Bayer, of the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, said the incident has been a difficult struggle for the entire family since the night it happened.
“The night this occurred, Carla Hague called her son to help her put his father back in bed rather than call 911,” Bayer said. “Once he got there, he knew something was very wrong and called 911. (Judge Hague) was taken to the hospital and flown to Cleveland.”
Judge Hague, as well as two of the Hague’s children, also had the opportunity to address the court.
“In my 72 years, I’ve weathered a lot of storms,” Judge Hague said. “This is the biggest one, but I am going to weather it.”
Judge Hague said the whole family is participating in psychological counseling of some sort since the incident.
“I have no anger or animosity toward Carla,” he said. “I am beyond that. I’m glad to have this huge black spot behind us and after today it will be. I hope Carla Can get on with her life as we are going to get on with ours.”
Judge Hague also said he concurred 100 percent with the sentence recommendation.
Mauri Kosicek, the oldest of the Hague’s three children, was very emotional as she spoke.
“As a child, you look up to your mother for guidance, approval, protection and to teach you the difference between right and wrong,” she said. “I am so saddened and disappointed in what happened.”
Kosicek said she was sad she had to be put into positions she shouldn’t have been put into and also sad she was forced to choose between her mother and father.
“I love them both, but I did what was right,” she said. “I hope one day I will be able to find forgiveness.”
Kirsten Casper, the Hague’s youngest daughter, said neither he mother nor her father are bad people and she loves them both.
“Obviously this is not just about an antifreeze issue,” she said. “We’ve had a dysfunctional family for many years.”
Hague’s attorney William Bobulsky said she blames no one but herself. He said Hague had a complex developing issue of depression, anxiety and fear that she was losing her husband to a severe respiratory condition known as pulmonary fibrosis.
He said a lung transplant could rectify the health condition; however, age and habits play a role in whether a person is a candidate for a transplant.
“Mrs. Hague felt one of those habits could be dealt with,” he said.
Bobulsky said she takes full responsibility for her actions with total remorse, regret and apology to her husband and family.
Visiting Judge Charles Brown said he will favorably consider a motion for judicial release upon Hague’s completion of a full six months in prison.
“If you violate any rule in prison, I will not bring you back,” he told Hague.
If she is granted judicial release she will be under probation for five years. Brown said if she violates the terms of her judicial release, he can make it more restrictive or send her back to prison to serve the remainder of her term.
Hague must report to the Ashtabula County Sheriff’s Department before 9 a.m. on June 27. She will be taken into custody at that time and transported to Marysville.