Man splits 10 years on abuse charges

By Staff
Melissa Cason, Franklin County Times
A Russellville man was given a 10-year split sentence after pleading guilty to two counts of child abuse late Friday afternoon.
Steven Pilkerton, 25, of 1610 Waterloo Road in Russellville, was indicted on two counts of first-degree sexual abuse and two counts of child abuse by the grand jury, but only pleaded guilty to the child abuse charges, said Joey Rushing, Franklin County District Attorney.
Pilkerton pleaded guilty to the charges on Friday. He will spend two years in prison, and upon his release, will serve five years on probation.
"If he gets into more trouble during his probation, Mr. Pilkerton will have to serve out his other eight years in prison," Rushing said.
This case involved a situation where the defendant allegedly abused two children in his care, and admitted that he "crossed the line between discipline and abuse during his plea hearing," Rushing said.
According to police reports, there were two separate instances.
The first when Pilkerton spanked the child leaving bruises on the child's lower back and bottom, and one where a hand print was left on another child's face, prompting a Department of Human Resources investigation, Rushing said.
The Franklin County Sheriff's Department and the Phil Campbell Police assisted DHR in the investigation.