RAPID CITY, S.D. – Prosecutors intend to present a dashcam video as evidence during the upcoming trial of a Washington state man accused of trying to kill a Highway Patrol trooper in South Dakota two years ago.
Donald Willingham, 35, will go to trial later this month on charges including attempted murder, aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer and possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute, the Rapid City Journal reported.
Deputy State’s Attorney Josh Hendrickson said Willingham was in a vehicle with three others when trooper Zachary Bader pulled the car over in October 2015 for speeding on Interstate 90 in Pennington County. Hendrickson said the video will show Bader requesting to search the vehicle after smelling marijuana.
Police said Willingham beat Bader and caused serious injuries, including facial fractures. Bader also lost consciousness during the alleged assault.
Dennis Doherty, Willingham’s lead defense attorney, didn’t object to the video being show to the jury. But Doherty did object to the inclusion of portions of audio that depict someone off-camera groaning in pain.
“These specific utterances are prejudicial due to their gruesome countenance,” Doherty told the court in writing. “Coupled with their hearsay aspects, the prejudicial aspect of these audio assertions outweighs the probative value thereof.”
Hendrickson said the prosecution will continue to work to include the audio.
The other three occupants of the vehicle pleaded guilty last year to marijuana possession with the intent to distribute and being an accessory to a crime.
Willingham is being held at the Pennington County Jail.
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe now to get breaking news alerts in your email inbox
Get breaking news delivered to your inbox as it happens.