Steven L. McClennon

DECATUR — The woman who Steven L. McClennon Jr. choked, punched and bit appeared as a defense witness at his sentencing hearing Monday, pleading with a judge to keep the Decatur man out of prison.

Macon County Circuit Court Judge Jeffrey Geisler said he took note of the appeals from McClennon’s girlfriend, but sentenced the defendant to a year in prison “for the protection of the public.”

McClennon, 21, had previously pleaded guilty to one count of committing domestic battery while having a previous domestic battery conviction, a Class 4 felony. Other charges of committing aggravated battery involving strangulation, domestic battery involving bodily harm, unlawful restraint and two counts of aggravated battery to a pregnant victim were dismissed in a plea deal negotiated by Public Defender Scott Rueter.

The case centered on an assault on Jan. 1 when McClennon was lying on the floor in his home near the then 1-year-old baby girl he fathered with his girlfriend, who was also 16 weeks pregnant at the time. A sworn Decatur police affidavit said McClennon became angry when the baby accidentally kicked him on the painful site of a two-week-old gunshot wound to his back, and he “spanked” the baby in retaliation.

The affidavit said that prompted his girlfriend to protest what he was doing, and police said McClennon then turned his fury on her: She was strangled for 10 seconds, before being punched repeatedly in the face. She was then grabbed in a “bear hug” to prevent her leaving and bitten hard enough on her back to leave a wound full of bloody teeth marks, the affidavit said.

Police: Decatur man arrested after beating pregnant girlfriend

“But you didn’t want to see it (the case) go ahead, you think Steve has some severe depression issues?” asked Rueter, quizzing the woman on the witness stand. “And you think he would be better served by getting treatment rather than going to prison?” The woman agreed, and said “Yes” when prompted to speak up.

Rueter told the court that McClennon’s painful wound had been a “severe aggravating factor,” and the court should listen to his girlfriend: “She knows the defendant best and clearly she didn’t want to see this go forward.”

Assistant State’s Attorney Cadmus Hicks said he had no objection to McClennon getting treatment for depression, but still wanted him to serve several years in prison.

He said McClennon was on probation for two other offenses, one involving violence, before he attacked his girlfriend in this most recent incident. “And we have seen probation doesn’t work,” Hicks told the judge.

In addition to the prison sentence, McClennon was ordered to pay a $200 domestic violence fund fee.

2019 mug shots from the Herald & Review

Get local news delivered to your inbox!

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Contact Tony Reid at (217) 421-7977. Follow him on Twitter: @TonyJReid


Load comments