A long-haul trucker has been convicted on multiple charges stemming from a disturbing incident in which the man mowed down his disabled wife with a tractor-trailer outside a motel in Marietta, Georgia, on Sept. 25, 2015, reports the Marietta Patch.
The accused locked eyes with his wife “before he put the truck in gear and accelerated toward her,” said Cobb County District Attorney Vic Reynolds in a statement.
A jury in Cobb County convicted 56-year-old Walter Leon Gabriel on Thursday, Dec. 7, of all charges, including aggravated assault and serious injury by vehicle.
The trial began Dec. 4 with jury selection, prior to which Gabriel was free on bond.
Reynolds also stated that evidence uncovered in the Cobb County Police Department investigation showed that about 2 a.m. on Sept. 25, 2015, Gabriel and his wife of 26 years were arguing about his infidelity at an extended-stay motel on Powers Ferry Road in Marietta, Georgia.
Gabriel is reportedly a long-haul trucker, whose multiple-sclerosis-afflicted wife sometimes accompanied him on trips.
Prosecutors said Gabriel then indicated his intention to leave the argument and made his way to his truck. His wife followed “begging for her medication that was stored in the truck.”
The woman testified that she and her husband made eye contact, after which he put the truck in gear and accelerated toward her, and that she “could not move out of the way quickly due to her disability.”
After hitting the woman with the truck, Gabriel drove away, prosecutors stated.
As Gabriel drove away in his truck, “horrified” onlookers who had seen the assault helped the woman, Reynolds stated.
The victim, who is now 54, sustained multiple broken bones in the attack and has endured repeated surgeries.
The woman’s thigh bone, calf bone, and left foot were all broken in the attack, the FresnoBee reported, as were two of her ribs.
Assistant District Attorney Jared Parrish argued before the jury that the crash was not a mistake.
“The defense would have you believe this was an accident,” Parrish told jurors. “But what do you do after you cause an accident? You say you’re sorry. You say you didn’t mean for this to happen. Mr. Gabriel has never apologized for hitting his wife with his vehicle. He never visited her in the hospital. His actions were malicious. He knew what he’d done.”
Jurors found Gabriel guilty of aggravated assault—family violence, four counts of aggravated battery–family violence, four counts of serious injury by vehicle, and two counts of hit and run.
The accused could face up to 170 years in prison for his crimes.
Sentencing has not been scheduled yet.
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