A jury of 7 men, 5 women and 2 female alternates has begun hearing details on a criminal confinement case that has resulted in 27 felony charges against Bill Warren.
Warren, 38, of North Manchester, is accused of confining a female victim to a tree and in a bedroom of his home and repeatedly sexually assaulting her while he kept the woman’s 3-year-old daughter locked in the trunk of a car.
In opening statements, Kosciusko County Prosecutor Dan Hampton called Warren “reminiscent of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. One side is friendly, outgoing, engaging; the other is erratic, violent and callous.”
Hampton told a story of how Warren manipulated a friendship with the victim – we are identifying her only as K.W. – and how he became violent on the night of Aug. 29, 2010, terrorizing the woman and her 3-year-old daughter, forcing the woman to engage in deviant sexual conduct and threatening her and the child with a box cutter.
But defense attorney Alan J. Zimmerman had a very different story in his opening remarks recalling the fateful night of late Aug. 29, 2010, and the early morning hours of Aug. 30, 2010. Zimmerman told the jury, “Evidence will show this is a drug deal gone very, very, very bad. You won’t like anybody that’s connected with this case when it’s all over.”
Both sides agree that Warren and K.W. grew up in the small town of North Manchester. K.W. said she never spoke to or associated with Warren while growing up, but did become acquainted with him through her first husband and while she worked for a temporary staffing company.
She described a friendship that started out with her feeling sorry for him because he said he had no friends.
“I was just trying to be a friend to him, someone he could talk to because everyone needs someone like that,” said K.W. “We talked about the people I was dating or whatever and our conversations led to sex a lot. … I considered him like one of my girlfriends; I would talk to him about anything.”
But the young woman always said she made it clear to Warren early on that she was not attracted to him. “I made it clear to him, me and him were just friends,” she asserted.
Hampton told the jury before K.W. took the stand that evidence will be introduced indicating how Warren coerced his friend to a parking lot at State Roads 13 and 14 near North Manchester under the ruse of an emergency, then forced her and her young daughter to comply with his demands while he held a box cutter to her stomach.
Hampton provided a mental image of a remote wooded area where Warren took the woman and claimed she was handcuffed to a tree, which Zimmerman later referred to “as something big as this microphone stand; a sapling.”
The prosecutor told how Warren allegedly threw the woman’s 3-year-old daughter in the trunk of the car and how he slammed it down on the child when she stood up.
Hampton said there were “a series of attempts to escape” made by the alleged victim, but all were unsuccessful. Warren allegedly threatened to kill the woman and her child if the woman failed to comply with his demands.
“He ordered her to undress,” Hampton continued to the jury, telling in detail how the woman was sexually assaulted. He told how Warren used rubber gloves and rubbing alcohol to wipe down the inside of the vehicle to remove his fingerprints and how he used the woman’s phone to send text messages to his own phone and several other people to “cover her disappearance.”
When Zimmerman got to address the jury he began, “That was a great story. I even found myself following it.” But he then told a very different account of the incident claiming Warren is the real victim who is the target of K.W.’s revenge.
Zimmerman said, “You’ll get a chance to see the evidence and what it leads to. We’ve heard of a young lady being handcuffed to a tree. Wouldn’t you like to have the handcuffs? You won’t have them … (there’s) no CSI evidence, no fingerprint evidence, you’re not gonna have any DNA evidence. You heard evidence of (the woman and her daughter being) put in the trunk, but no allegation that anyone attempted to rub alcohol in the trunk and there’s no evidence in the trunk that anyone had ever been in it.”
Instead, Zimmerman claimed the woman made the story up and was smoking methamphetamine the night of Aug. 29-30. He said Warren should actually be credited for removing the child from the trunk saying the child’s mother is the one who put her inside. He also said Warren stayed in the car with the girl while K.W. manufactured and smoked methamphetamine throughout the night and early morning hours.
“This is a weird relationship these two young people had,” added Zimmerman.
After nearly two hours of telling how she and Warren came to be friends, K.W. began to tell how she came to meet Warren on the night of Aug. 29 saying, “He called me saying he needed to talk to me, that it was urgent.”
Kosciusko County Superior Court I Judge Duane Huffer then stopped the witness at 5:45 p.m. saying, “We’ll pick up there tomorrow morning.”
Court is set to reconvene at 9 a.m. Wednesday.