Casper Man, Convicted For Ramming Woman With SUV, Killing Her, Asks For New Trial
A Casper man convicted last month of manslaughter and aggravated assault for ramming and killing a woman with an SUV is asking for a new trial.
Specifically, Jerald Fallon is arguing that a jury couldn't logically convict him of aggravated assault and manslaughter while also acquitting him of second-degree murder.
Fallon's attorney, Joe Cole, made the argument in recently filed motions which were heard on Tuesday.
In the motion for a new trial, Cole argues that because the jury convicted Fallon of manslaughter, he could not have acted with malice.
"To prove aggravated assault, the state would have to prove that (Fallon) either intentionally or recklessly under circumstances manifesting indifference to the value of human life.
Twelve jurors found Fallon not guilty on a second-degree murder charge. Instead, they convicted him of the lesser included manslaughter offense.
Cole writes that jurors were instructed not to convict Fallon if they found he killed Kelly Black during a sudden heat of passion. The concept of malice and sudden heat of passion are mutually exclusive, Cole added.
But writing in response, Assistant Natrona County District Attorney Kevin Taheri argued that Wyoming law is "settled" that inconsistent verdicts aren't problematic. In fact, Taheri wrote, neither party in the case was able to find an example in Wyoming case law where an inconsistent verdict has been overturned.
"There is no case law to suggest that a sudden heat of passion mitigates aggravated assault when the defendant acts 'recklessly with extreme indifference to the value of human life," Taheri added.
Natrona County District Court Judge Daniel Forgey said he will take both parties' arguments into consideration and notify them when he has made a ruling. It's unclear how long that will take.
Over the course of the trial, took place over four days last month, jurors heard testimony describing Fallon who was angry at Black over being drunk at a February 29, 2020 Christmas party in the hours leading up to the incident.
They also viewed security camera footage from Fallon leading Black out of the party by her arm. She could barely keep up with him.
According to charging documents, Fallon was traveling at between 38 and 42 mph when he intentionally backed into Black on the US 20-26 bypass near its intersection with Interstate 25. After the collision, Fallon loaded Black's body into the car and drove back to the Hilton-Garden Inn where the Christmas party was being held.
Then he fled the scene on foot and was on the lam for two days before law enforcement arrested him in Mills on a probation warrant.
Because Fallon is convicted of being a habitual criminal, he faces a mandatory life sentence should Forgey allow the case to proceed to sentencing.