LIMA — A Lima woman facing felony drug charges testified Friday that she accepted a deal from prosecutors and pleaded guilty to the charges against her only because she feared for her life.
Vyctoria Walters, 22, sought to withdraw her guilty pleas and explained during Friday’s hearing how alleged threats against her life were relayed to her. Walters testified she was told that her failure to accept the deal from prosecutors would result in a bullet to her head and her body being fed to hogs.
Walters was indicted in August of 2020 on a single count of aggravated possession of drugs, a felony of the second degree, and a third-degree felony count of possession of a fentanyl-related compound. In May of this year she entered into a deal with prosecutors that called for her to plead guilty to a second-degree felony count of aggravated possession of drugs and an amended count of possession of a fentanyl-related drug.
In August, however, defense attorney Kenneth Rexford filed a motion asking that his client be allowed to withdraw her pleas. Rexford at that time alleged that Walters’ life had been threatened if she did not accept the plea deal. He said the threat was made by James Long, commonly known as “Grandpa,” who currently is an inmate in the state prison system until February of 2023 on charges out of Defiance and Auglaize counties.
During Friday’s hearing Walters testified that a friend, Amy Simon, said her life was in danger if she dragged Long into her case.
“She (Simon) told me she and Jim were in a room full of people and he said if I mentioned his name he would put a bullet in my head and take my body to a farm and feed it to the hogs.”
Simon gave a similar story during her time on the witness stand. She testified that Long “thought she (Walters) was snitching and that threats were being made. I let her know she needed to be careful and that Grandpa wanted her to keep her mouth shut.”
Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Rebecca King Newman asked Walters why she didn’t present this information to the court when she accepted the plea deal.
“I was terrified, honestly,” the woman replied. “I have heard stories of James (Long) doing some unspeakable things to people. I don’t know if the stories are true, but I believe he’s not someone you want to get on the bad side of.”
Walters now alleges that Long or others possessed the drugs that were the basis of charges against her.
Long, who is currently serving a term in state prison, was brought back to Lima for Friday’s hearing and appeared before Judge Jeffrey Reed. The judge advised Long of his constitutional rights against self-incrimination and of his right to speak with an attorney before answering any questions.
Reed made only generic references in Long’s presence to the reason for Friday’s hearing but did mention Walters by name.
“Is that her?” Long asked, looking in Walters’ direction. “I don’t even know her.”
Long said he wished to speak with an attorney before proceeding. Reed said the hearing will resume at a later date.