UPDATE: Florida Drops McDaniel Domestic Violence Charge

(WOAY)- A charge of domestic violence against the director of West Virginia’s Division of Natural Resources was retroactively revoked Tuesday morning in Florida’s St. John’s County Court.

An order removing the erroneously filed information was filed in Stephen McDaniel’s case in county court, and the order effectively un-charges McDaniel with domestic violence after a report of an argument that turned violent between McDaniel and his ex-wife on April 6 in St. Augustine. The order had been filed by way of an information on April 23, and McDaniel signed a deferred prosecution agreement that was filed April 25, according to St. Johns County Court records.

With the order filed Tuesday, McDaniel now faces no charge and the deferred prosecution agreement no longer is in effect.

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(WOAY) – The West Virginia DNR Director was arrested in Flordia after allegedly striking a woman.

According to court documents, on April 6, 2019, the victim stated she was at her residence when the defendant, Stephen Scott McDaniel, 53, came over after drinking at the bars in downtown St. Augustine, Fl. The victim stated the defendant was angry because she would not pick him up from one of the bars.  A verbal argument escalated when McDaniel became physical with her.

McDaniel allegedly held the victim on the bed, was on top of her with his knee pressing down on her left forearm.  The victim stated her hair was in her face when the defendant placed one hand on her mouth and nose causing her to have trouble breathing.  The victim said the defendant had his hand on the left side of her face holding her down.

As the altercation escalated, McDaniel picked up a lamp and was standing next to the bed, and was shaking the lamp.  The victim told police she believed he was going to kill her.

Police observed a bruise on the victims left eye, along with a laceration under her upper lip. Red marks were also observed on the victim’s neck.

When police interviewed McDaniel, he told them that he did get into an altercation with the victim but denied any physical contact.  A small cut was observed on the top of the defendant’s left hand.

McDaniel was charged with domestic battery, a misdemeanor.

McDaniel entered a deferred prosecution agreement, which means he didn’t plead guilty or say he was innocent.  The agreement which states that he is not able to contact the victim, he is not able to possess firearms as a condition of his employment within the state of West Virginia or Florida, he cannot enter any bars, liquor stores, or establishments that primarily sell alcohol, he cannot consume alcoholic beverages, and has to complete an approved batterer’s intervention program successfully.

If McDaniel doesn’t violate the agreement within 12 months, then all charges will be dismissed.

Brian Abraham, General Counsel to Governor Jim Justice, tells WOAY that based on McDaniels great job performance, facts, and circumstances, the Governor has asked McDaniel to keep on doing his job, and not resign.

McDaniel offered to resign.  He met with the Governor after returning to West Virginia and they discussed the situation with lawyers.

The victim did not want to receive medical attention when asked and the victim also did not want to complete an audio statement of the incident.

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