Witness pleads not guilty
WARREN – The 21-year-old Warren woman who was with Taemarr Walker last fall when he was killed during a confrontation with a Warren police officer was being held on $250,000 bond after her initial court appearance Monday.
Regan Jelks, with addresses on Woodbine Avenue S.E. and Niles Cortland Road, was returned here from Detroit late last week to face charges of involuntary manslaughter and two counts of improperly handling firearms in a motor vehicle.
The indictment holds Jelks responsible for Walker’s murder, claiming she caused the death ”as a proximate result of committing or attempting to commit a felony.” The manslaughter charge is a first-degree felony that carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison.
Jelks was in her own car with Walker, 24, early Oct. 19 when Warren police officer Michael Krafcik shot Walker to death following the confrontation. Krafcik, who was cleared April 10 by a Trumbull County grand jury of any wrongdoing, was responding to a disabled vehicle call when the car carrying Jelks and Walker drove off the roadway and into a ditch.
Jelks case was assigned to Judge Peter Kontos, who set a pre-trial for next Monday.
Jelks was represented at the arraignment by attorney Brendan Keating, but she told the judge she would be hiring another lawyer. There was a minor delay in the proceeding since Jelks hadn’t been served a copy of her indictment while being held in Trumbull County Jail over the weekend.
The two other counts in Jelks’ indictment coincide with the two guns found inside her car after Walker was shot.
An unloaded 9 mm handgun was singled out for a misdemeanor count of a weapons charge and a loaded assault rifle was named in the felony version of the same charge.
Krafcik was attending to another disabled vehicle when Jelks drove her car off the road on Risher Road near the intersection with Palmyra Road S.W. The officer approached the Jelks’ disabled car with a flashlight in his hand and spotted Walker jump from the front seat to the back seat where the assault rifle was located. While still being warned to remain still, Walker lunged from the back seat to the front seat, pulling the pistol from underneath the driver’s seat.
Krafcik first fired through the car window and then fired additional shots at Walker.
Jelks is seen on a police cruiser dash cam being led from her car to a cruiser while sobbing uncontrollably.
Walker was believed to be in route to II Hype Lounge on Mahoning Avenue N.W. where the business closed up early after threats were received that Walker was going to ”shoot the bar up,” police said.