One second, they were making eye contact — the husband from the inside of his tractor-trailer, and his wife from the outside, where she was begging him to give her medication that was in the truck, the wife testified in court.
But the next second, Walter Gabriel “put the truck in gear and accelerated toward her,” running his disabled wife over, prosecutors said at the 56-year-old Marietta, Ga., man’s trial last week.
Gabriel had gotten angry at his wife because she had posted “seductive photos” of his mistress on Facebook, according to an arrest warrant reviewed by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
A Cobb County jury on Thursday convicted Gabriel of several charges for running his wife over on Sept. 25, 2015, including aggravated assault, aggravated battery, serious injury by vehicle and hit and run. Gabriel could face as much as 170 years in prison when sentenced, prosecutors said.
Gabriel, a long-haul trucker, had been arguing with his wife about his infidelity at an extended stay motel at about 2 a.m., prosecutors said. The wife sometimes traveled with Gabriel as he drove, according to prosecutors.
But when Gabriel tried to leave the argument and head to his truck, his wife followed him — “begging for her medication that was stored in the truck,” prosecutors said.
As her husband drove at her with his tractor-trailer, the wife, who suffers from multiple sclerosis, “could not move out of the way quickly due to her disability,” prosecutors said.
As Gabriel drove away in his truck, “horrified” onlookers who had seen the assault helped the woman, prosecutors said.
“The defense would have you believe this was an accident,” Jared Parrish, the prosecutor, told jurors at Gabriel’s trial. “But what do you do after you cause an accident? You say you're sorry. You say you didn't mean for this to happen. Mr. Gabriel has never apologized for hitting his wife with his vehicle.”
The wife, now 54, was taken to the hospital after the attack, where she underwent multiple surgeries, WXIA reports.
The woman’s thigh bone, calf bone and left foot were all broken in the assault, the Journal-Constitution reports, as well as two of her ribs.
“He never visited her in the hospital,” Parrish said at the trial. “His actions were malicious. He knew what he’d done.”
Gabriel had been released on bond, but was taken back into custody after the Thursday verdict, prosecutors said.