Walker found guilty in jury trial

By Meladi Brewer

DailyAdvocate.com

GREENVILLE — After three hours of deliberation, the jury found Jessica Walker guilty of two counts of a four count indictment. Judge Stephen A. Wolaver presided.

Walker, 46, of New Madison, was on trial for two days in the Darke County Common Pleas Courthouse for allegations of two counts of felonious assault, one count of vehicular assault, and one count of failure to stop after an accident with a specification of causing serious injury.

The victim’s wife took the stand Tuesday to relay her perspective of the events. The wife advised the victim was looking down at the mail when they heard Walker’s tires in the gravel. She said they thought Walker was going to cut in front of her to go around the victim in order to be on the right side of the road, but they were surprised when Walker did not.

“She doesn’t. She doesn’t get on that side of the road, she stays on the wrong side of the road, she doesn’t stop, and she doesn’t let off the gas just – bam,” the wife said.

The wife continued saying Walker proceeded to drive off and leave the scene without the exchanging of information or to check on the victim. During the 911 call, the wife can be heard saying they originally did not want an ambulance. She claimed her husband did not want an ambulance due to being “pretty cheap.”

“He said his hand hurt, but it was mild in comparison to what his knee was. He took a pretty hard hit to that knee,” the wife said.

Defense attorney Dennis Lieberman rebutted the events of the day by bringing up facts about the victim and his wife seeking out a lawyer when the incident first occurred with the purpose of suing Walker.

“All we wanted to know was about our medical bills. I’m not going to sue her. I just wanted our medical bills paid,” the wife said.

The wife said “they were not suing her. It is not who they are.” She advised the court she does not believe she and the victim are going to pursue suing for coverage of the medical bills.

Evidence from Walker’s testimony on the dash cam in Sergeant Steven Mills’ cruiser was played for the court. In the video Sergeant Mills and Captain Shawn Trissel could be heard speaking with Walker about the incident.

“This guy, who was the one with the RV, he like rolled himself onto my car. He throws himself on my car, right. Did he have an injury- no,” Walker said.

In the video, the court can hear Walker get cut off by Captain Trissel saying the victim did have an injury. Walker continued to tell the service members she had been pulling out of the lot when the victim advanced toward her.

“I was going to the stop sign from a very low, bare movement, and he threw himself onto my car and said ‘you’re hurting me’,” Walker said.

Walker could be heard saying “of course he was concerned because I had called the police about his mobile home.”

Walker had been asked in the video what was the problem with the RV being in the lot, and she responded with “it’s a public place, so I was just reporting it. I guess that’s where they keep their overflow for their personal property. Where their junk goes.”

Previously in Walker’s initial 9-1-1 call with dispatch regarding the mobile home, she could be heard stating she was a trustee, but later asked if a trustee had given the victim permission to park in the lot. Walker had also stated the space was public property in the beginning of the call, but claimed the Butler Township Trustees owned it later.

“I am concerned as a Butler Township trustee at the Butler Township building. We have a neighbor who has been authorized by the Butler Township authorities to park some vehicle from Texas in our parking lot,” Walker said in the call.

She advised dispatch it was being moved but should be investigated. She said “it is public property” and she wanted to “talk to them (the trustees) about what they authorized and how they (the victim) are using our (the citizen’s) public spaces.” Walker ended the call by telling dispatch they did not need to send anyone to the scene, because all she “wanted was the record and would be requesting it in a public records request.”

At the end of the cruiser video, Walker advised she had a video of part of the incident. However, once Walker was told her car was going to be seized as evidence, she no longer wished to share that video when she was asked to saying “well, I think we’re good. You’re going to take my car as evidence right.”

In closing arguments, the state advised the jury about what each count means and the differences between them. They asked the jury to take all the evidence and testimonies that had been given into consideration before reminding them of what they felt were some of the most important takeaways.

“She describes not once but twice that the victim threw himself onto the hood of her car, and basically follows up with he doesn’t have any injuries. Then she has these snide remarks of ‘oh does he really,’”, State Attorney Chris Kinsler said.

State Attorney Drew Wood also advised the court if the victim was “faking his injuries like Walker advised Capt. Trissel” then it means they would have to believe he and his wife not only lied in court but to all his doctors, too. The victim would have been successful at convincing six doctors when he had no real injury.

“Even if he was able to fool them and convince them he was injured when he really wasn’t,” Wood said. “He went through surgery. That’s a pretty high level of commitment just to cover up where an RV was parked.”

The defense rebutted and advised the jury to not be persuaded by what someone said but instead to look at the more concrete evidence. Lieberman advised the jury to take what someone says and see if there is any corroborating evidence to back it up.

“Even if you think she was a jerk for being out there and asking them to move. Even if you think she herself got angry, and even if you think all of that is true, that does not warrant a guilty verdict,” Lieberman said.

After three hours of deliberation, Walker was found guilty of count two felonious assault: causing harm with a deadly weapon, a felony of the second degree and count four failure to stop after an accident. The jury determined Walker was not guilty of the specification: causing physical harm to the victim, and count four was determined a misdemeanor of the first degree.

Walker was found not guilty by the jury for count one felonious assault: knowingly causing serious physical harm and count three vehicular assault. She was placed under a pre-sentencing investigation, and a sentencing date will be scheduled at a later time.

To contact Daily Advocate Reporter Meladi Brewer, email [email protected].