MOUNT VERNON — The trial of Harley Hanna, 24, of Utica, on charges in the death of Glen Willey, 41, of Mount Vernon, ended abruptly Wednesday when Judge Otho Eyster granted a defense motion to dismiss the charges.
The motion by defense attorney Jim Giles came after Knox County Prosecutor John Thatcher rested the state’s case against Hanna. Giles argued that the evidence failed to establish that Hanna knowingly or intentionally caused physical harm to Willey or that a push or chest bump to push Willey out of Hanna’s “personal space” should be considered an assault.
Thatcher replied that the state didn’t have to prove intent, just that the defendant’s actions caused harm and that he knew his shove could cause harm.
Eyster, however, said his biggest problem was with the “proximate cause of death.” He said that the two hours from the time the barmaid put the trash cans out near where Willey was laying, and the time a passer-by found the body, were unaccounted for. He further argued that no test showed that the fall caused by Hanna’s push or bump as what caused the fatal injury.
He also noted that Willey’s pants were unzipped when he was found and that his arms were apparently in a different position when found than when he was left in the lot.
Willey’s relatives in the audience were upset with the trial result.
“He (Glen) will be dead forever, while this guy will be walking around,” said David Willey, Glen’s father.
“We got screwed,” said Ron Simpson, an uncle of Glen Willey. “We had evidence he (Hanna) was involved.
“You don’t just leave someone on the street to die, either.”