Denise Hernandez, 54, of Athens, pleaded guilty to two counts of assault causing bodily injury in the Smith County Court Of Law and received 18 months of deferred adjudication, which means her conviction will be kept off her criminal record.
The guilty plea comes after Hernandez was arrested last June for spiking two workers’ energy drinks with colon cleanser without their knowledge or any regard for the staff’s “pre-existing medical conditions,” according to the arrest document reviewed by local outlet CBS 19. The employees had been working at the Smith County Courthouse in the elections department when they reportedly had a conversation with Hernandez, who left briefly before returning with a cup filled with a pink substance.
Hernandez told the employees the liquid was Spark energy drink, only to reveal after consumption that it was in fact colon cleanser. According to the arrest affidavit, Hernandez began singing “you just drank colon cleanser” and making fun of the employees, one of whom was in serious pain.
The employees wrote they initially hesitated to speak up because they were afraid of Hernandez, describing her as “a bully.” Hernandez handed in her resignation shortly after the incident on May 3, only to try and rescind it the following day. In a second letter sent to Smith County Judge Nathaniel Moran, Hernandez said she initially sought to quit her job due to a “childish incident,” but had realized she loved her job too much to quit.
The Smith County Elections Commission voted to accept Hernandez’s original resignation.