The defense attorney for Darrin Hirsh cross examined the defendant’s ex-wife during the jury trial that continued Thursday in Barton County District Court.
Darrin Hirsh is charged with aggravated assault, criminal threat and domestic battery, alleged to have occurred in March of 2013, and, two counts of intimidating a witness and two counts of violating a protective order of the court in March of 2014.
On Wednesday, his ex-wife Candice Hirsh began her testimony, saying he held a gun to her head and a pillow over her face after an argument at the Hirshes’ home at Bissell’s Point.
Defense attorney Sal Intagliata questioned Candice Hirsh about interviews she had given in March 2014, after her story was reported to law enforcement by her work supervisor, Talaya Schwartz.
Intagliata asked her if she remembered telling agents she came towards Darrin, and that he pushed her away, twice, to which she said, “correct.”
Asked if she told agents she slid across the floor, and that she got rug burns, of which there are no photos, “correct.”
In that telling of the incident, she said Mr. Hirsch came in, shut door, and pushed her on the bed and put a pillow over her face. However, she told agents she did not see a gun, but felt a hard object on the side of her head and recognized it was a gun. He then said, “Be quiet, it will be over soon,” then walked out of the room.
The defense attorney continued to ask questions about that interview, but Ms. Hirsh said she could not recall exactly what she said to agents.
“There were so many interviews,” she said.
Intagliata then asked about a different interview, one that occurred on March 12, 2014, with the Kansas Bureau of Investigation. Then, he asked about an interview she had with Agent Harrison on Dec. 15, 2014, about the events of the alleged incident in March, 2013.
He provided Candice Hirsh with what appeared to be a transcript or report of the interview for her to review. His line of questioning that followed asked her to verify the statements she made to Harrison.
In that statement, she said the incident began in the kitchen. She recalled Darrin was upset because he was being asked to pack and leave in front of his kids.
She recalled she went to their son Easton’s room, sat on the bed, holding her clutch purse. Intagliata was very specific about calling it a clutch.
Hirsch said it was very hard to put that night into words.
Intagliata asked if Hirsh recalled telling Harrison she saw the gun. “Correct,” she said. She went on to agree she had told Harrison that Darrin put the gun down by her on the bed where she was sitting, and that she stated he was extremely agitated and extremely angry, that he grabbed the clutch from her and damaged it. He then pushed her onto the bed, and became calm, putting the pillow over her face and told her “it will all be over soon.” She agreed she stated to Harrison she’d said, “don’t let my kids see me like this,” to which there was no response, and then Darrin got up and left.
Then, the defense attorney asked her to remember back to March 13, 2013. He recalled for her she called in sick for three days, March 13, 14, and 15. According to records from the Center for Counseling, where she was employed, it showed she had only taken leave for 30 minutes on the 13th, rather than the entire day off.
After a long pause, Hirsh stated that answering the question was likely going to get someone into trouble, which she didn’t want, but that her supervisor had “fudged it” and that she was off on the 13th.
“You’re asking me questions about a time I don’t want to remember,” she said. Her comment was stricken from the record.
Intagliata asked if she had asked her boss to do that.
“I don’t ask people to do that kind of thing,” she replied.
She admitted she found out about it later, but did not report it, did not file a police report, did not tell her supervisor’s superiors about it. She did nothing, she admitted.
Summing it up, the defense council asked her if it was accurate that overall, her testimony was that Darrin put a pillow over her face and a gun to her head, though the order in which it happened was in question, and that it happened on March 12, 2013, here in Barton County, and that he threatened to kill her and stated her kids would be going too.
She could not remember the exact wording of the threat, but agreed with the rest of the statement.
Intagliata began again, asking her to verify her testimony was that she was in fear for her kids safety, and agreed there was nothing she wouldn’t do to protect her children, to which she answered, “correct.”
Hirsh also confirmed that the allegation came to light a full year later, and that she, Darrin and the three kids continued to still live in the home together that entire year. There were no reports to any law enforcement agency in 2013, and Candice Hirsh took no action to remove her children from the home. Then, on March 12, 2014, her supervisor, Schwartz, relayed the incident to the police.
On redirect, Assistant Attorney General Jessica Domme, who is handling the prosecution with Assistant Attorney General Lyndzie Carter, asked Candice Hirsh what she thought the purpose of her interview with Captain Dan Brown had been.
She responded she felt it concerned Darrin’s employment. She was asked if she had made the statements under oath – had been sworn in. Hirsch replied that had not happened. Domme asked if Hirsch understood that she was now sworn in and under oath. She replied yes. And finally, asked her if she had told the truth before the jury, Hirsch replied yes.
Intagliata again questioned Hirsh, asking her to clarify that she understood Captain Dan Brown with the Kansas Highway Patrol was a law enforcement officer, and that she understood the importance of being honest and that just because she was not under oath it did not giver her a license to falsify statements. To all three questions she replied “correct.”
At that point, the Judge recessed the court, to resume in the afternoon, at which time other witnesses were called, beginning with Stephanie Jacobs.
The trial continues Friday.