Nash faces felony charges over alleged death threat

Bartholomew County Prosecutor Bill Nash has been charged with two felony charges and four misdemeanors after Indiana State Police received a complaint from a neighbor who alleged that Nash threatened to kill him on Mother’s Day over a dispute involving dogs and a BB gun.

Nash, who has been Bartholomew County prosecutor for 19 years, has been charged by special prosecutor Franklin W. Arkenberg with obstruction of justice and intimidation, both Level 6 felonies, as well as misdemeanor charges of intimidation, interference with the reporting of a crime, disorderly conduct and harassment, according to court records.

Nash declined on Thursday to comment on the charges but said he plans to continue to serve as prosecutor while the case is pending. He will be represented by North Vernon attorney Mark Dove. Nash, whose term as prosecutor ends Dec. 31, is not seeking re-election.

The special prosecutor, Arkenberg, is believed to be from Ripley County.

According to a probable cause affidavit from Indiana State Police Detective Tim Denby, unsealed Thursday afternoon, the charges involve an alleged incident with a neighbor on May 8 in the Tipton Lakes neighborhood on the west side of Columbus — just days after Nash lost in the GOP primary for Indiana House District 59.

At about 4:30 p.m. that day, a neighbor identified in court documents as Scott Stuck, 6043 Acorn Drive, alleges that he was mowing his front yard when Nash started “aggressively approaching” him “with an angry look on his face,” according to a probable cause affidavit.

Stuck, who told police that Nash had previously shot a BB gun toward their house, stopped mowing, and “Nash continued to approach in a menacing manner” and yelled in an angry voice, “You have dangerous dogs, this is the last time. You yell about a BB gun being dangerous, your dogs are dangerous,” the affidavit states.

He allegedly told Nash, “Don’t come on my property yelling at me. Get off my property.” While walking off, Nash allegedly said, “D—- dogs better be on a leash. Those are dangerous dogs, and he better get a lawyer.”

After starting to mow his front yard again, Stuck found a small animal collar with the name “Pepe” and a phone number on it. The neighbor told investigators that he called the number at about 5 p.m. and that it went straight to a voicemail that belonged to Nash.

Shortly after that, the neighbor saw Nash gardening in his backyard and approached him while staying on his property holding the collar in the air. Scott said, “Hey Bill, found this. I think it’s yours.”

Nash allegedly responded, “Don’t come on my property. Yes, the collar is mine.”

Stuck then asked why the collar was on his property. Nash replied, “I don’t know, throw it over here.” Stuck then asked Nash “Don’t you want to discuss this like adults?”

At that point, Nash allegedly started yelling at him, according to court records.

“You think a BB gun is dangerous! Your dogs are dangerous! A BB gun is not going to kill you! You have kids playing with the dogs! You think a BB gun can kill you! I can kill you! I will kill you, and Indiana state law says I can kill you! Dude, you came into my yard, screamed at me about shooting a BB gun! You put up a fence! Throw it and go. The last time I checked I am still the chief law enforcement officer until Dec. 31, so go ahead and call the cops! Good luck with that! Throw me my thing!” Nash is quoted as saying in the affidavit.

Stuck said he was in shock and took Nash’s threat seriously, and told officers his wife, identified in the probable cause affidavit as Monica Salazar-Stuck, video recorded some of the interaction on her cell phone, the affidavit states.

Everything after “Indiana law says I can kill you,” was recorded, the affidavit states.

The couple said they were “very concerned” for their safety due to Nash’s “erratic behavior,” his position and power as prosecutor and chief law enforcement officer in the county, the affidavit states.

The couple said Nash has shot a BB gun towards their house in the past and told police they are in fear for their safety and believe Nash “can carry out his threats to kill Mr. Stuck,” the affidavit states.

The charges were filed July 15 following an Indiana State Police investigation. Listed as material witnesses are Denby, Scott Stuck, Monica Salazar Stuck and Columbus Police officers Clayton Nolting and Adriane Polley, according to court records.

Bartholomew Superior Court 1 Judge James Worton approved a no contact order in the case while the probable cause affidavit was sealed and then recused himself and all other Bartholomew County judges from the case, asking for a special judge.

Jennings Superior Court Judge Gary Smith has been appointed for the case, according to court documents.

An initial hearing for Nash had been set for 1 p.m. Aug. 10 but was waived and canceled, according to court records.