Accused line dancer enters plea, retains former prosecutor

Accused line dancer enters plea, retains former prosecutor
Janet Hilgenfeld

A line dancer who is accused of punching another woman at Spanish Springs Town Square has entered a plea of not guilty to the charge.

Janet Arlene Hilgenfeld, 63, of the Village of Winifred entered the plea on Friday in Lake County Court.

She has retained criminal defense attorney J. Scott Herman, a former assistant state attorney in Orange County and the 1998 Homecoming Chief at Florida State University. He entered the written plea on her behalf.

Accused line dancer enters plea, retains former prosecutor
J. Scott Herman

Hilgenfeld was issued a notice to appear in court on a charge of misdemeanor battery after she allegedly punched on Aug. 7 a 54-year-old woman who also lives in The Villages.  Hilgenfeld, who teaches line dancing at several recreation centers in The Villages, had been line dancing with her friends when the incident took place. Hilgenfeld’s friends claim the woman had deliberately invaded Hilgenfeld’s space and tried to provoke her.

The victim claims that Hilgenfeld “punched her with a closed fist in her left cheek causing pain in her jaw and redness to her left cheek area,” according to an incident report from the Lady Lake Police Department.

When questioned by police, Hilgenfeld claimed that the woman had “taunted” her and the other line dancers.

“I hit her,” Hilgenfeld told police, according to the incident report.

Hilgenfeld was banned from the square after she had planned to return to Spanish Springs one week after the incident. Law enforcement arrived at her doorstep on Aug. 14 delivering a 30-day trespass notice.

A plea negotiation conference is now set for Oct. 5. Sentencing is set for Oct. 26.

The case is being heard by Judge James R. Baxley.