The Richmond Register

July 16, 2012

Attorney seeks to exclude previous conviction in human-trafficking case

Richmond

By Sarah Hogsed
Register News Writer

RICHMOND —

The attorney for a man accused of trafficking his daughters to other men for “companionship and affection” is seeking to exclude from trial information about his client’s previous conviction for attempting to sell his child.

 Anthony Wayne Hart, 48, and his wife, Kathy Hart, 45, were indicted in June 2011 for allegedly “... arranging for their 13-and 14-year-old daughters to provide companionship and affection to male individuals in exchange for money and goods ...,” according to the indictment. The incidents reportedly occurred between Oct. 9, 2009, and Feb. 24, 2011.

Human trafficking is a Class B felony punishable by 10 to 20 years in prison. A trial has been set in the case for Aug. 20.

Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Jennifer Smith had given notice that she would introduce at trial information about the Harts’ previous arrest in Boyle County.

Eight years ago, the Harts were charged after they tried to sell their newborn baby for $3,000 to undercover police officers at the Danville Walmart, according to an Associated Press report.

Kathy Hart was found incompetent to stand trial, and Anthony Hart pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of prohibited acts and practices in the adoption of children. He received a two-year sentence in 2005, the AP reported.

Anthony Hart appeared in court Thursday with his attorney, Timothy Despotes. Despotes had made a motion to exclude the information about his client’s previous arrest and conviction.

Smith said she had not heard from Kathy Hart’s attorney, Mark Stanziano, about how he wished to proceed.

Kathy Hart had a closed competency hearing in May to see if she was capable of standing trial. A ruling has not been made by Circuit Judge Jean C. Logue on that matter.

Logue said she would schedule a hearing on the motion to exclude information about the Harts’ previous arrest once she checked on Kathy Hart’s competency ruling.

Sarah Hogsed can be reached at shogsed

@richmondregister.com

or 624-6694.