A Crawfordsville man was given a 4 1/2-year suspended sentence after pleading guilty to criminal confinement and unlawful possession of a steroid.
John R. Walker, 53, a local dentist was facing multiple felony charges and one misdemeanor charge following an altercation he had with a woman he was romantically involved with in August 2019.
On Wednesday, Walker agreed to plead guilty in Montgomery County Superior Court to two of the felony counts against him — criminal confinement and unlawful possession of steroid. In exchange for his guilty pleas, the state dropped two counts of battery by means of a deadly weapon, two counts of strangulation, intimidation, criminal recklessness with a deadly weapon, domestic battery resulting in moderate bodily injury and pointing a firearm at another, all felonies, and a misdemeanor charge of domestic battery.
Judge Heather Barajas ordered Walker to serve two years (one actual) of his sentence on home detention. He also was placed on probation for the duration of the sentence. He was assessed court fees and probation costs.
All of the charges stem from an altercation Walker had with a woman at his home on Southfork Drive in August 2019. He was accused of putting a loaded handgun in her mouth multiple times during the altercation.
The woman testified Wednesday during Walker’s sentencing hearing that on the night of Aug. 3, 2019, Walker grabbed her by the throat and choked her several times before he retrieved the gun from the closet. Multiple times throughout the night, Walker put the gun in the woman’s mouth and forced her right hand on the weapon in an attempt to make her pull the trigger. The woman also said Walker grabbed her arm, struck her in the back of the head with a fist and threatened to kill her.
The argument resumed around sunrise on Aug. 4, 2019, when Walker again choked the woman several more times and placed the gun back in her mouth.
After the incident, the woman left the house and called police. She was taken to a hospital for a medical evaluation. Photographs of her injuries were entered as exhibits in the case.
Deputy Prosecutor Andrew Salter asked the woman what she wanted to see happen at the conclusion of the hearing, she replied, “I think he deserves to go to jail for what he’s done.”
Walker’s attorney, Adam Brower of Indianapolis, characterized Walker’s relationship with the woman as “toxic” and reminded the court that had this case gone to trial, Walker would have argued against the testimony presented by the woman.
In a statement read to the court, Walker accepted full responsibility without excuse and apologized to the woman, his family, his friends, the community and the state.
“I’ve let many people down,” Walker said.
He added he was embarrassed by his actions and vowed to improve.
“Please do not give up on me,” he added.
Walker and his wife, Jodi, are separated, but continue to work together at the dental office and co-parent their three children. She and Myra Galloway, the office manager at the dental practice, both took the stand in support of Walker. The women spoke of the compassionate care Walker gives his patients at his long-standing business, his civic involvement and the support he gives to his three children. They also shared that they fear what would become of Walker and the practice should he have to serve any jail time.
Judge Barajas noted each of those points as mitigating factors, as well as Walker’s lack of a previous criminal record and a low likelihood that he would re-offend in handing down her decision.
“No judge wants to hear a case like this, especially in a community of this size,” she said.
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