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'I can kill you': Bartholomew County prosecutor charged after alleged threats toward neighbor

Bartholomew County Prosecutor William Nash
Posted at 2:46 PM, Aug 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-05 13:59:11-04

COLUMBUS — The Bartholomew County prosecutor faces criminal charges stemming from an altercation he had with his neighbor in which he allegedly threatened to kill him, according to court records.

A probable cause affidavit filed July 15, but unsealed Thursday, alleges William Nash made the threat toward his neighbor on Mother's Day after an argument over his neighbor's dogs.

At one point, Nash yelled at his neighbor "I can kill you! I will kill you and Indiana State Law says I can kill you!", the affidavit alleges.

Indiana State Police began investigating Nash after his neighbor made a complaint to Columbus police.

The neighbor told an ISP detective he was mowing his lawn when Nash angrily approached him and shouted, "You have dangerous dogs, this is the last time. You yell about a BB gun being dangerous, your dogs are dangerous!", according to the affidavit.

According to the affidavit, Nash's neighbor told police he had fired a BB gun toward their house before.

After that exchange, the neighbor told Nash to get off his property, at which point Nash turned away and said, "Damn dogs better be on a leash. Those are dangerous dogs and he better get a lawyer."

The neighbor told the detective he then continued mowing until he noticed an animal collar with a phone number written on it. He later called the number and realized it was Nash's.

The neighbor told the detective that shortly after that he walked up to Nash to ask why the collar was on his property. Nash responded "I don't know, throw it over here" to which the neighbor asked if they could discuss it like adults.

The neighbor said Nash replied, "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! l will kill you and Indiana State Law says l can kill you!" according to the affidavit.

The neighbor said Nash continued by saying "Throw it and go, the last time I checked l am still the chief law enforcement officer until December 31 so go ahead and call the cops! Good luck with that! Throw me my thing," according to the affidavit.

Part of the exchange was captured on camera, according to the affidavit.

The following charges were filed against Nash:

  • One count of obstruction of justice
  • Two counts of intimidation — one as a misdemeanor, one as a felony
  • One count of interference with the reporting of a crime
  • One count of disorderly conduct
  • Four counts of harassment

Nash's bond was set at $600 and paid on Aug. 2, according to online court records.

An initial hearing was initially scheduled for Aug. 10 but was later canceled. It has yet to be rescheduled.

The Bartholomew County Prosecutor's Office declined to tell WRTV during a phone call if Nash was still in office.

The Indiana Supreme Court tells WRTV Investigates that Nash is a lawyer in good standing with the Court and has no disciplinary history.

Nash is not running for re-election as Bartholomew County Prosecutor this year.

In a statement to WRTV, Nash said he planned to continue serving as prosecutor for the rest of his term, which ends on Dec. 31 — but he declined to comment further.

Ripley County Prosecuting Attorney Franklin Arkenberg has been appointed as special prosecutor to the case, according to online court records.

Nash is being represented by North Vernon-based attorney Mark J. Dove. WRTV has reached out to his office for comment.

Indiana law says an elected prosecutor can remain in office until they are convicted of a felony or disbarred.

Any vacancy, if there is any vacancy created by this situation, would be filled by the Bartholomew County Republican Caucus, according to Zach Osowski, a spokesperson for the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council.

WRTV has reached out to the Bartholomew County GOP chair and vice chair and we are still waiting to hear back.

Nash did seek the Republican nomination for state House District 59 this year, but he lost in the primary to Rep. Ryan Lauer.

WRTV Investigates Kara Kenney and WRTV producer Ray Steele contributed to this report.