MOUNT VERNON — The trial of Harley Hanna, 24, of Utica, in the death of Glen D. Willey, 41, of Mount Vernon, is expected to conclude today in Knox County Common Pleas Court. Hanna waived a jury trial and the case is being argued before Judge Otho Eyster.
Willey was found dead outside of Choo Choo’s Bar on Pittsburgh Avenue the morning of May 21. Hanna, a friend of Willey’s, is accused of having struck or shoved Willey, causing him to fall backwards off the stoop at the bar, striking his head on the pavement.
Hanna is charged with a felony count of involuntary manslaughter and two misdemeanor counts of assault. In his opening statement, Knox County Prosecutor John Thatcher said that if Hanna is convicted on either of the assault charges, the court will be asked to find him guilty of the involuntary manslaughter charge. He said the evidence will show that Hanna and Willey had engaged in an argument and Hanna either chest-bumped or pushed Willey off the porch.
Defense attorney James Giles, said the incident, though unintentional and unfortunate, was an attempt to push Willey out of his “space,” but not an assault.
The picture drawn by the witnesses was that Hanna met friends James Randy Howiler and Jeffrey A. Williams at Howiler’s home, where they were eventually joined by Willey. They spent time drinking beer at Howiler’s, then went to Choo Choo’s, where they continued to drink beer, plus “shots,” and shot some games of pool.
Willey was found to have a blood alcohol content of .334 percent.
Bar patrons were asked if they had seen any signs of an argument between Willey and Hanna and whether Willey was unsteady on his feet. Willey was seen to fall by at least one person and another said she overheard Hanna saying, “I love you and everything, but don’t push me” to Willey.