A fifth-grade teacher at College Park Elementary School who at one time was a local media personality has struck a plea bargain in a domestic battery case after being arrested earlier this year.
William Keith Chartrand, 46, who has hosted an online golf radio show at floridasportstalk.fm and was the longtime sports editor of The Daily Sun in The Villages, pleaded guilty last week to a lesser misdemeanor charge of domestic battery. Judge Lisa Herndon withheld adjudication of guilt and placed Chartrand on probation for one year.
Chartrand was arrested March 8 at his Ocala home and initially charged with domestic battery by strangulation, a felony. At the time, Chartrand told Marion County sheriff’s deputies that he and his wife had a “heated” verbal altercation. He claimed she came into the den where he was sitting on the couch and started “screaming profanity at him,” a sheriff’s office report states.
Chartrand told deputies he went to confront his wife and they separated for the evening. A deputy then read Chartrand his rights and he said that during the confrontation his wife “got into his face” so he “slapped her across the face with an open hand,” the report says.
Chartrand told deputies he didn’t mean to hit his wife but “lost his cool for a moment.” He also said he “understood what he did was wrong” but claimed she started the altercation when she got into his face, the report says.
Chartrand’s wife told deputies that she confronted him about the arguments they had been having and said he pushed her onto a bed three times. She claimed on the third time he placed his hands around her neck and squeezed until she felt pressure on her throat, but her breathing wasn’t constricted. She said Chartrand then struck her across the face and she told him to leave their residence, the report says.
Deputies noted that Chartrand’s wife had red marks on her neck and chest, as well as swelling on her face. She was assisted by EMS and medically cleared, according to the report.
Chartrand initially was held without bond but was released March 10 after a judge set his bond at $1,500. His attorney, David Mengers, entered a not guilty plea on March 17 and initially demanded a jury trial, a court document shows.
On May 12, with jury selection for his trial already set for Aug. 17, Chartrand successfully had the conditions of his release from jail on bond amended to allow him to have “peaceful contact” with his wife and return to his residence. He and his attorney appeared via Zoom for that hearing with Herndon, court documents show.
Under the conditions of Chartrand’s plea bargain, he was required to:
- Submit to a DNA test and get fingerprinted;
- Successfully complete a batterers intervention program on the first attempt;
- Enter in an outpatient drug and alcohol treatment program within 60 days and complete the course on the first attempt; and
- Perform 30 hours of community service, which he can buy out of at a rate of $10 per hour.
Chartrand also was ordered to pay fines totaling $1,288. He elected to break that into 16 payments of $128.80, with the first one being due on Aug. 16. He agreed to make the payments every 30 days and initialed a clause on the court document that states failure to comply will void the agreement, result in his driver’s license being suspended and require the balance to be forwarded to a collection agency.
It remains unclear how Chartrand’s guilty plea to a lesser charge will affect his teaching job. A spokesman for Marion County Schools said earlier this week that the district is awaiting the arrival of official court documents to determine whether or not he is eligible to remain employed.
Chartrand initially was suspended with pay pending the outcome of a district investigation, but he eventually was placed on unpaid administrative leave. He previously had requested a meeting with the State of Florida’s Division of Administrative Hearings to dispute the fact that he wasn’t being paid pending the outcome of his case. That hearing had been set for Aug. 13, a district spokesman said.
Chartrand at one time was a regular Daily Sun columnist, guest on a sports talk show on radio station AM-640 WVLG and a well-known personality on television cable station VNN in The Villages. His Twitter account noted that he also is a former ESPN College Gameday assignment editor and Auburn writer for Saturday Down South, and his Facebook page at one timed showed a photo of him with golfing legend Jack Nicklaus.