Day two of the Bill Warren criminal confinement and sexual assault trial began with the alleged victim, K.W., back on the stand and recounting the events of Aug. 29-30, 2010, that led to Warren facing 27 felony charges. (See related story)
Kosciusko County Prosecutor Dan Hampton began today’s hearing saying, “Yesterday we talked about your girlfriend (type) relationship with Billy Warren and you indicated you received a telephone call from him.”
During her testimony Tuesday, K.W. told of how, at approximately 11 p.m. or midnight on the night of Aug. 29, 2010, or the early morning of Aug. 30 2010, she was headed out of town with her then 3-year-old daughter. She said she was planning to “hang out with friends” but “Billy called and said he needed to talk to me it was really important and it’s an emergency,” K.W. said.
K.W., who was 26 years old at the time of the incident, said she agreed to meet Warren at the junction of State Roads 13 and 14, but told him she was in a hurry and already running late. “I texted a few people I was supposed to hang out with telling them I was going to be late,” she said.
When Warren drove up and parked next to her vehicle, she said he got out and entered the passenger side of her car saying he thought he found jobs for both of them. But upon her insistence that she was late and needed to go, Warren refused to exit her vehicle. That, she said, is when she saw a side of her friend that scared her.
“He told me to drive and held a box cutter to my throat,” she said. “He told me to drive or I’ll slit your [expletive] throat.” Initially, K.W. said she pushed away Warren’s hand that was holding what was later described as a box cutter and argued with him about what he was doing.
She told of Warren having a “deep, like demonic type of possessed voice. He had a glaze over his eyes. I can’t even describe it, it was scary.”
K.W. detailed at least three failed attempts to grab her daughter and run from Warren, describing being tackled, dragged on her back by her legs across gravel, strangled and thrown both into the passenger seat of the car and eventually into the trunk of her own car.
She said she and her daughter were driven in the trunk of the car while Warren played the song “Umbrella” by Rhianna “over and over, blasting it on the speakers.” The car finally came to a stop, Warren turned off the vehicle and exited it. K.W. said she thought they may have been at a gas station because she heard voices.
“I waited a minute then started punching the trunk, but not saying anything. I didn’t want him to hear and come kill us.” She added, “Of course no one heard me. After a minute or two he came back, started the car and blasted the radio again.”
The prosecutor presented large-scale hand-drawn maps that K.W. had drawn herself. The maps represented where she and Warren initially met at SRs 13 and 14, how their vehicles where parked. It also showed a general layout of the crossroads and treeline.
Using the drawings, K.W. repeatedly showed where she allegedly ran to try and escape her attacker. As she spoke, and with all eyes of the jury and the judge on her, Warren shook his head, his face tensed in anger and he mouthed the words, “What? F—ing b—-.”
K.W. said the next stop Warren made while she and her daughter were still in the trunk of the car was at a remote wooded area in Wabash County. She said Warren handcuffed her to a small tree, ordered her to remove her clothes with a threat of harming her and her daughter, then fondled her.
While giving the graphic details of what Warren allegedly did to her, K.W. said, “I was begging him to stop. He had this glazed look in his eyes and he’s so scary; he looks like a demon or something. I’ve never seen this side of him before. It continued for a few minutes then he seemed to snap out of it.”
She told the court Warren allowed her to redress and go check on her daughter, who was still locked in the trunk of the car, “Then it was like he snapped into an angry mode again.”
K.W. recounted that Warren’s personality rapidly fluctuated throughout the night going from “demonic” to more like the friend she had come to know. She said throughout the night she repeatedly told Warren to just let her and her daughter go and she wouldn’t tell anyone what happened.
The woman controlled her emotions throughout her nearly 6 hours of testimony, only occasionally speaking excitedly as she told of the heated exchanges between her and Warren that occurred during the ordeal. For much of that time, Warren rocked angrily in his chair, often shaking his head, scowling, and silently mouthing his disagreement with the testimony.
Under cross examination by defense attorney Alan J. Zimmerman, K.W. stuck with her testimony.
Zimmerman tried to discount how the woman was strong enough to push Warren’s hand away two or three times while he held a box cutter to her throat. He also implied that the woman wasn’t telling the truth when, during one of the alleged escape attempts, Warren was able to hold K.W. and her daughter in a “bear hug” and unlock the trunk of the car. She flatly replied, “That’s how it was.”
The defense asked K.W. about any medications or drugs that were taken prior to the events of Aug. 29-30, and prior to giving her statement to police. She said her whole body hurt the following day from running and being dragged through gravel. She admitted to taking a muscle relaxer and a Vicodin she received from a friend and said she did not have prescriptions for either one.
“And you took that then gave your second taped interview,” Zimmerman said. “In that interview, you said prior to Aug. 29-30, you admitted to using meth, marijuana and illegal pills relating to the events.” K.W. replied, “I want to answer honestly so my answer is yes and no. I did admit that I took the muscle relaxer and Vicodin the night before the second interview, but I did not admit I took meth or marijuana the night of the 29th or 30th.”
In opening statements of the trial, Zimmerman told the jury, “Evidence will show this is a drug deal gone very, very, very bad.” He also said rubbing alcohol was used by Warren to wipe down traces of methamphetamine K.W. allegedly used that night, and said the alleged victim took her own clothes off when she spilled meth on herself.
Zimmerman asked, “Isn’t it true you took your clothes off for a job?” K.W. admitted she was a stripper six years prior to 2010 but, under re-direct by Hampton said she quit the job after two or three months because she didn’t like the way men treated her.
The defense’s questioning then moved back to K.W.’s alleged escape attempts. “So you were in the driver’s seat and Mr. Warren was in the passenger seat with a box cutter held to your throat, but you were able to push his hand away, get out of the car and go clear around to the passenger back door, open the door, get your daughter out of the child seat in the back seat? What was Mr. Warren doing the whole time in the front seat?”
“I’m not paying attention to what he’s doing, I’m paying attention to trying to get away!” she answered.
Zimmerman asked if K.W. had the handcuffs or knew where they were. He asked if she sought medical care for her young daughter who had allegedly been struck in the head by the slamming trunk lid. The woman replied she did not know where the handcuffs were and said she did not seek medical care for her child.
The prosecution then called the woman’s young daughter, now age 5, to the witness stand. Karen McGrath, who has worked with the child, asked the girl to tell a truth to determine if she knew the difference between a truth and a lie. The child giggled and said she would get in trouble for telling a lie.
McGrath then asked her, “Do you promise to tell the truth the whole time you’re in this room today?” The girl squeezed her face and said, “Yes.” But after approximately 10 minutes of asking the girl a series of questions, Judge Duane Huffer excused the witness because it could not be made clear that she could comprehend truth from lies. Instead, the video from the child’s initial interview with police on Aug. 30 was played for the jury.
In that, Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Department Detective Charlene Johnson asked the girl if she knew what “Billy” did to her to which the child, then 3 years old replied, “He was mean.” The child repeatedly said, “He put me in the trunk,” “He shut me, then he got me out.”
Johnson asked the little girl who “Billy” is and the girl replied, “He’s mean to me. He put me in the trunk.”
The final witness for the prosecution was Sarah Lancaster, assistant director of the 911 dispatcher center. She testified to the validity of a 911 recording received by K.W. at 12:13 p.m. on Aug. 30. When the recording was played, K.W.’s claims were very similar to the testimony she gave in court.
The trial is set to resume at 8:30 a.m. Thursday.