A Shepherd man has begun serving lengthy prison terms after being convicted of charges related to sexual assault and manufacturing methamphetamine.
Donald Bruce Hays, 40, entered a plea of no contest to charges of delivery or manufacture of methamphetamine and third-degree criminal sexual conduct, as well as habitual second offender status.
Midland County Circuit Court Judge Michael J. Beale levied 12 ½ to 30 years in prison for the meth charge, and 14 and 22 ½ years in prison for the sexual assault charge. The terms are to be served at the same time. Beale granted credit for 680 days served, and set restitution at $70 to be paid to the Bay Area Narcotics Enforcement Team.
Hays also is subject to lifetime GPS monitoring and to register as a sex offender.
Hays was arrested in April 2015 after BAYANET detectives, Midland County sheriff’s deputies and Michigan State Police went to his family’s home at 1357 S. Castor Road to conduct a search warrant related to the possibility of a meth lab.
Components used to produce meth were found in a pole barn, and methamphetamine was found inside a bedroom. BAYANET had conducted purchases previously at the home.
Six children, ranging in age from 9 months to 17 years at the time, were removed from the home and made wards of the court due to production of methamphetamine and physical neglect. A Midland County Probate Court petition chronicles findings of a Child Protective Services visit to the home, including that the home was being powered by a generator, plates of food were on the kitchen floor, clothing was piled in bedrooms and two children slept on mattresses without sheets on the basement floor.
The petition also states one child told officials she sometimes smelled strong chemical odors, and others knew where methamphetamine was stored.
After the methamphetamine investigation, the sexual assault case came to light. The victim in the case, a teenage girl, was interviewed at the Safe and Sound Child Advocacy Center in Midland. She disclosed various males, including Hays, had sexual contact with her since the spring and summer of 2014.
Several charges against Hays were dismissed in the cases — first- and second-degree criminal sexual conduct, operating or maintaining a meth lab and possession of meth.