Surfside Beach man pleads guilty in domestic assault case, sentenced to a year in prison

A 28-year-old Conway man pleaded guilty to two charges of criminal domestic violence and was released from jail after serving 261 days, according to records.

Joshua Daniel Bell, 28, of Conway, pleaded guilty to third-offense criminal domestic violence and second-offense criminal domestic violence and Circuit Court Judge Larry Hyman sentenced him to a year in prison on each charge, according to court records.

Bell was given credit for the 261 days he has served since being arrested and ordered to pay a $2,500 fine. But that fine is suspended if Bell completes an abuse program.

Bell was charged Feb. 5 by Surfside Beach police with criminal domestic violence of a high and aggravated nature, driving under the influence, driving under suspension, unlawful neglect of a child and child endangerment, according to records at J. Reuben Long Detention Center.

Officers were called about 8:15 p.m. Feb. 5 to a home in the 1000 block of South Myrtle Drive for a domestic dispute, according to a Surfside Beach police report. Officers saw a vehicle leaving the area and learned from the victim that Bell was driving it and was suspected in the assault.

Officers stopped the vehicle that Bell was driving and the officer noted a strong smell of alcohol so they detained him, according to the report. Bell told police he had argued with his girlfriend at her house and he did not have a driver’s license because they were suspended. Bell refused to take a breathalyzer.

A 7-year-old child was in the rear of the vehicle and taken into custody when Bell was taken to the Surfside Beach Police Department, according to police. The 25-year-old victim told police that Bell hit her in the nose and scratched her back to remove a prescription pain patch.

The woman said Bell tried to choke her, and cover her mouth to keep her from calling for help, according to the report. The woman said Bell tried to lock her and the child inside a bathroom, but she was able to get out of the house with a 2-year-old child and call police from a neighbor’s house.

The woman said she left Bell in the house with their 17-month-old baby when she left to call police, according to the report. The woman suffered injuries that were consistent with her statement about the assault.