Despite the fact that several significant stories occurred in Marion County in 2021, there was one that stood out above the rest.
The trial, conviction, and sentencing of Marion County Judge Jason Warner was voted the most important storey of the year by readers and staff of the Marion Star newspaper in Marion, Indiana.
Warner, who was elected in 2018, was involved in a hit-and-run accident in June 2020 that resulted in the injury of a 19-year-old male.
Despite calls for his resignation following the crash, Warner instead chose to take a paid administrative leave over the course of the investigation.
Jason and Julia Warner were convicted guilty in March by visiting Judge Patricia Cosgrove, who found them guilty of various charges. A fourth-degree felony and a third-degree felony were both convicted in April on one count of complicity to leaving the scene of an accident and one count of complicity to tampering with evidence, respectively. Cosgrove determined that, despite the fact that the prosecution recommended the highest possible prison sentences for both Jason and Julia, the pair will serve two years in prison consecutively.
Cosgrove asserted that a significant aspect in this case was the fact that both of the Warners exited their vehicle after the incident, and he referenced several witness testimony to support his claim. The removal of a critical piece of evidence from the site of the crime, the Jeep, also precluded law enforcement from conducting any blood alcohol tests to determine whether or not impaired driving was a factor in the incident.
Margret Tomaro, of the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, delivered statements from Colton Gray, who was killed in the incident, and his mother, Shannon Taylor, who was also killed in the tragedy.
The remarks from Taylor and Gray stated that they were in favour of holding the Warners to the maximum level of legal accountability. Taylor claims that the Warners abandoned her son after the accident, and she can’t comprehend the trauma he has gone through and continues to go through as a result of this. Gray, on the other hand, claims that his life has changed drastically as a result of the event.
When asked about the changes in his life, Gray stated that he still has flashbacks to the night of the accident whenever he is in a car. Furthermore, he stated that his movement skills are still impaired, and that this has an impact on his ability to participate in recreational activities such as baseball. Gray was forced to be mechanically removed from his car by emergency personnel the night of the crash.