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Special magistrate to preside over Plants’ case

A special magistrate will preside over criminal proceedings in the domestic battery case involving Kanawha County Prosecutor Mark Plants.

State Supreme Court Chief Justice Robin Davis signed an administrative order Thursday assigning Mercer Magistrate Mike Flanigan to hear the misdemeanor case.

The order came after Kanawha Family Court Judge Mike Kelly requested an out-of-circuit magistrate. Both Kelly and Kanawha Magistrate Julie Yeager, who hear all of Kanawha County’s domestic violence cases, are disqualified from the case.

No hearing has been set in regard to the domestic battery charge filed Monday against the prosecutor.

He was released on a personal recognizance bond.

Plants allegedly in February struck his 11-year-old son with a belt more than 10 times after the child pushed his stepbrother off of a scooter, according to a criminal complaint filed Monday.

State Police began investigating on Feb. 26 after Allison Plants, the prosecutor’s ex-wife, reported a brown and dark purple 6- to 7-inch U-shaped bruise on the back of the boy’s leg.

Allison Plants secured a domestic violence protective order against him on Feb. 27 barring the prosecutor from contacting their two sons or her.

Mark Plants allegedly violated that order on March 18 when he saw his sons sitting alone in Allison Plants’ vehicle at Fruth Pharmacy in Fort Hill and stood by the car until she came out of the store. She told State Police that the prosecutor asked her who was watching the children while she worked during the day.

He was charged with violating the protective order. Flanigan will hold a status hearing on that charge at 10 a.m. May 21 in Kanawha Magistrate Court.

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