VICTIM RESPONDS FOLLOWING VERDICT
BY LEANN DILBECK & JACLYN ROSE
Dr. David Van Winkle was found guilty by a jury on all 6 counts he was charged with after less than 3 hours deliberation.
The defense continued to present its case to the jurors Thursday morning with a string of character witnesses including Kevin and DeLynn Randolph, Jennifer Goodner, Mark Frederick, Dale Powell, Gary Neal and Pat Riley who all testified that they believed Van Winkle to be an honest and trust worthy person.
The defense rest its case at 9:40 a.m. and then made six motions to dismiss all charges against Van Winkle of which were all denied by the presiding Judge J. W. Looney. Judge Looney then gave the specific instructions to the jury before counselors began their closing statements.
Prosecuting Attorney Andy Riner began with his confidence in the evidence collected and said, “The facts speak for themselves.” As he summarized the hours of testimony and multiple pieces of evidence, he encouraged them to remember the testimony given by Constable Jim Carazzo that he witnessed Van Winkle walking to his 2006 Chevrolet pick up approximately 300 yards from the victim’s home carrying a .380 pistol.
Riner successfully presented Van Winkle as a calculating predator who had sought out his victim, discovered her weaknesses of which he chose to exploit. The victim admits to being a drug addict.
He argued that Van Winkle facilitated contacting his victim outside of his practice, 671 texts exchanged over a 22-day period. He shared verbatim texts exchanged between the two the night of the incident in which Van Winkle knew she would be arriving home from work, would be there alone, and did not have to be at work the following day. He argued that Van Winkle’s action demonstrated a certain degree of premeditation and cognitive functioning.
Riner, in speaking of Van Winkle’s victim who’s character had been attacked by the defense, said, “Sin had taken her further than she wanted to go, cost her more than she wanted to pay, and kept her longer than she wanted to stay.”
Defense attorney Bill James began his closing statements by encouraging jurors to not be influenced by stories reported in the press and rumors regarding the “high-profile” case. He referenced the O.J. Simpson case and encouraged jurors to pay close attention to detail. He attempted to devalue the weight of the evidence either by arguing insignificance or the method in which it was collected or processed. He attempted to establish reasonable doubt that Van Winkle was the person responsible by saying that law enforcement had not effectively pursued other possible suspects.
But when the jurors returned, the verdict delivered was guilty of Kidnapping with use of a firearm, guilty of Stalking in the 1st degree with use of a firearm, guilty of Terroristic Threatening in the 1st degree, Aggravated Residential Burglary of which all are felony charges. They also found him to be guilty of Battery in the 3rd degree and Assault in the 1st degree of which both are misdemeanors.
Before jurors were dismissed for the sentencing phase, testimony was given by a former patient of Van Winkle’s who testified that he inappropriately touched her breast while she was under the influence of a shot he administered to her for a dental procedure.
Phyllis Van Winkle also took the stand on behalf of her son. She thanked the jurors for their service and said she would accept their decision but asked them to consider the ages of his parents and the fact that he had a disabled brother.
At approximately 7 p.m., jurors returned with the following sentencing recommendation for Judge J.W. Looney:
40 years on the charge of aggravated residential burglary to be served at the Department of Corrections;
12 years on the same charge for possessing a firearm in the act and law dictates must be served consecutively, meaning a total of 52 years;
13 years on the charge of Kidnapping;
5 years on the charge of Stalking;
3 years on the charge of Terroristic Threatening;
as well as $2,500 fine on each misdemeanor charge of Battery and Assault. The Kidnapping, Stalking, and Terroristic Threatening sentences will be served in concurrence with the 52 years.
Van Winkle was immediately remanded to Sheriff’s custody pending transfer to the Department of Corrections.
Following the delivery of the verdict, the victim in the case, Miranda Olmstead told The Pulse, “Thank God they believed me and they wanted to put a monster in the community away…and maybe I gave a voice to other women because I believe I’m not the only one. Thank you to the Polk County Sheriff’s Department and the judicial system for being so quick to respond that night…and to Andy and his team for helping take such good care of me.”
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