Walker sentenced on assault charge


By Meladi Brewer


GREENVILLE — A local attorney was sentenced on assault charges in the Darke County Courthouse Thursday. Judge Stephan A. Wolaver presided.

Jessica R. Walker, 47, a local attorney from New Madison, was sentenced on count two of felonious assault: causing harm with a deadly weapon, a felony of the second degree and count four failure to stop after an accident, a misdemeanor of the first degree pending the completion of a jury trial on Jan. 30 and 31 of this year.

Her attorney Dennis Lieberman, had filed for a motion for a new trial on the basis there was insufficient evidence and perjury. Lieberman said “perjury may have been too strong of a word.”

“The grounds were that during the course of the trial, there was a denial of a civil lawsuit which was not going to be filed because ‘they just don’t do that sort of thing’,” Lieberman said.

He said a civil lawsuit was then filed by the victims a week after Walker’s guilty verdict. Prosecuting Attorney Drew Wood advised there was no legal support about the factual circumstances the defense outlines.

He brought the court’s attention to a specific Ohio Supreme Court case to support his claims as to why the motion for a new trial should be denied. The judge ruled in the state’s favor, and Wood continued with additional concerns the state had regarding the community’s safety and Walker’s treatment.

“Ms. Walker has demonstrated she escalated situations. She takes situations where there is no need for confrontation and turns them into a confrontation. She takes incidents where there are verbal confrontations and makes them physical,” Wood said.

Wood said Walker has demonstrated over time she “has a desire to win” and it has placed the community in danger. During the time of the incident, Walker had been on supervision for misdemeanor charges after a trial on March 11, 2022.

“One of the state’s main concerns in this case is substance abuse and mental health treatment,” Wood said, “which the defendant has been resistant to.”

Wood gave a history of Walker’s resistance stating in case 20CRV0678, a misdemeanor case for disorderly conduct, Walker had refused the mental health treatment ordered by the court pending conviction and was sentenced to 20 days incarceration. Mental health treatment was ordered in 21CRV360 after her conviction. She had refused that treatment as well and a court ordered a community control conviction before Walker ultimately complied. A competency evaluation was ordered in a manner of this current case, and the defendant refused it pending this trial.

“The defendant thus far has proven to be resistant to getting control over whatever issue is leading her into these confrontations,” Wood said.

Wood said he believed community control up to this point had not been enough, as “she had not been encouraged enough by conviction followed by community control to undergo any necessary changes.”

“Something needs to change,” Wood said.

Lieberman advised the defense believes community control is better than prison because Walker had wanted to have her own psychiatrist take a look at her.

“She did do that, so I don’t think it’s completely accurate to say she’s completely resistant,” Lieberman said.

He said he believed that in spite of the fact that they tried to get the court to grant community control, it would be likely the court would send her to prison. Judge Wolaver confirmed Lieberman’s suspicions. He sentenced Walker to the minimum of three years in prison up to four and a half in the Ohio Reformatory and Corrections Center in Marysville with jail time credit on the felonious assault case. For the misdemeanor, she was sentenced to six months in jail to be served concurrently. There will also be a mandatory post release control, no fine, and a license suspended for a year.

“The only comment I will make about the answer to a question you made regarding the steps and actions you will take if placed on community control,” Judge Wolaver said. He addressed Walker saying she did not answer the question at all, but instead addressed some of the comments she made in court about other officials in the county. Judge Wolaver said it did not have to do with her future actions.

“I don’t think the question presented was that confusing,” Judge Wolaver said.

He said based on the evidence of the case, her behavior at the jail, the written statement, and the history of the case, he does not see her fit for community control.

“Perhaps Ms. Walker, you noticed this, but when you were found guilty by the jury of count two, this court did not revoke your bond and you were released,” Judge Wolaver said.

He said this act is not typical of his behavior especially with someone convicted of a high felony, but he “wanted to keep an open mind” in this case. Judge Wolaver said as the council pointed out, two weeks later an incident arose whereby you were arrested.

He explained to the court why he decided to rule in favor of a prison sentence, and continued to say as he thought about the case, he had come to a conclusion about Walker’s behavior.

“I’m not sure how to say this so it makes sense, but it seems like you have something – almost like stalking the Butler Township Board of Trustees,” Judge Wolaver said.

He said the incident that occurred in this case had a back story and brought up the pending charges involving the Butler Township Board of Trustees as well.

“I don’t really have the ability to wrap my arms around that type of conduct and your reasoning of why you felt it necessary to be so involved with the township,” Judge Wolaver said.

He addressed her counsel saying they have done an outstanding job of informing the court regarding some mental issues that may have an impact on the situation saying “it may be an answer but he doesn’t know.” Judge Wolaver advised all of the facts presented allow him to believe Walker would not, in his eyes, be a good fit for community control.

“I do believe that in her heart she believes what she’s been doing is the right thing, and I believe she does believe that there have been situations where Darke County and officials in Darke County have not treated her fairly,” Lieberman said.

Walker was able to speak during the sentencing, and she pointed out the one thing she would like to say is “there was no evidence that she had escalated anything physically. She said during the trial there was no indication of physical trauma, as Walker pointed out the “alleged victims were proven not to have any physical trauma.”

“I have not escalated anything physically, and I have acted legally throughout in pursuing what I see to be criminal activity on some of our county’s officials,” Walker said.

She advised it “appeared the Darke County Sheriff’s Office had tampered with evidence and perjured themselves on multiple occasions.”

Walker’s next trial is scheduled for June 6 and 7.

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

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