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Frankfort cop claims self-defense at trial

Updated: March 6, 2014 6:59AM



A Frankfort police officer hopes his claim of self-defense will clear him of a criminal charge that he attacked a former girlfriend in 2012 at her Mokena home.

Donald Walsh, 30, of Monee, is on trial in Will County Circuit Court for aggravated battery, accused of punching the woman in the face and choking her about 3 a.m. July 25, 2012.

Walsh has been suspended without pay from the police department since his arrest.

He’s also charged with threatening the woman during a phone conversation a month earlier that she secretly recorded. Walsh’s next court appearance in that case is set for Feb. 18.

In his closing argument Tuesday before Judge Edward Burmila, defense attorney Steve Haney presented a surveillance video from a Tinley Park bar that he said shows the woman pushed Walsh and struck him several months before the July 25 incident.

However, special prosecutor Dave Neal stressed that the video shows that the woman was escorted calmly out of the bar and did not have to be forcefully subdued. No charges were filed in the Tinley Park incident.

Haney told the judge that the injuries the woman received during the July 25 altercation were more consistent with being subdued than with being physically attacked.

Neal disagreed, saying the evidence presented by the prosecution at trial showed that her injuries were the result of Walsh’s physical abuse and were inconsistent with a claim of self-defense.

Haney suggested that the alleged victim made up a story about being beaten by Walsh after her 9-year-old daughter had called police because of the dispute at the home.

The woman knew that Walsh was not to have contact with her children because of her pending divorce case and feared legal repercussions from having ignored that court order during her relationship with Walsh, Haney argued. He said she was in “self-preservation mode” out of fear of losing custody of her children.

Neal dismissed that theory, saying it was illogical that the woman would come up with that “master plan” while in fear of an angry, threatening Walsh.

“She was in self-preservation mode not to die,” he said.

After closing arguments concluded, Burmila said he would issue his verdict on Friday.

Frankfort police have filed departmental charges against Walsh and have sued the woman to force her to testify at the department’s disciplinary hearing for Walsh. That lawsuit has been on hold pending the outcome of the criminal trial.



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