Judge sets bond for McAlester couple accused of child abuse

May 21, 2020 GMT

McALESTER, Okla. (AP) — A county judge set bond at $100,000 each for two McAlester defendants charged with several counts related to allegations of torturing and beating a 10-year-old.

Ashley Dawn Marie Schardein, 24, and Billy James Menees, 27, were charged with child abuse by torture, kidnapping, and four counts of child abuse, according to court documents. Pittsburg County Associate District Judge Tim Mills set the bond during an initial arraignment on Tuesday.

Several other children who lived in the home were removed and placed in the care of DHS, the McAlester News-Capital reported.


The couple is accused of torturing Menees’ 10-year-old daughter by “excessively punishing” her with emotional, verbal and physical abuse. According to court documents, some of the abuse included spanking, tying her hands and feet for long periods of time, not allowing her to use the restroom, and forcing her to sleep on a concrete floor with no pillow or blanket, intentionally keeping the room cold.

Prosecutors said the defendants also restricted the girl’s diet to only oatmeal, spinach and water.

“(She) has been beaten to a pulp for at least a month, if not more. She was tortured and made to look like she just got out of Auschwitz,” said Assistant District Attorney Michon Hastins-Hughes.

Documents state the other charges listed allege instances of striking the girl with a large wooden paddle, a belt, a sock stuffed with a bar of soap, and smashing the child’s head into a wall.

Schardein was transported to the hospital following the bond hearing. Her attorney said she was going into labor. Menees was taken into custody in front of the courthouse and transported to the Pittsburg County Jail.