A self-described militant atheist found guilty of felonious assault on a North Hampton church pastor was sentenced to serve eight years in prison.
James Maxie, of Springfield, was convicted of the charges after he seriously injured Rev. Norman Hayes, the pastor of The Bridge Community Church, 105 N. Main St., in North Hampton after Hayes delivered his sermon on Oct. 20, 2013.
In the plea deal taken by Maxie in Clark County Common Pleas Court last month, a misdemeanor charge of resisting arrest was dropped in exchange for a guilty plea on the second-degree felony assault charge. He received the maximum sentence of eight years in prison.
Hayes suffered a broken nose, bruises and three cuts that required stitches across his face. Maxie allegedly attacked the pastor after Hayes asked Maxie's girlfriend if she felt safe around him. At the time of the attack, Hayes said he feared for his life.
The brutality of the beating and the location are why he was charged with a felony, police have said.