GILLETTE — A 28-year-old Gillette man was found guilty Friday afternoon of manslaughter and disposing of a dead human body to conceal a felony in the overdose death of a woman at his home last fall.
Jacob G. “Walley” Wallentine pleaded no contest to the charges as part of a plea agreement in which three felony drug charges were dismissed — two of possession of meth in two additional cases and one of delivery of heroin in the case in which Tamlyn Delgado died.
As part of the agreement, prosecutors will ask for an imposed eight- to 10-year prison sentence for manslaughter and four to six years for disposing of Delgado’s body. Wallentine’s court-appointed attorney, Jonathan Foreman of Douglas, will argue for less during the sentencing hearing.
Wallentine had intended to plead guilty to the charge of disposing of her body, but that plea was changed to no contest, which means he doesn’t admit committing the crime, after questioning by District Judge Michael N. “Nick” Deegan.
Wallentine disputed parts of the charging documents in which witnesses said that he climbed on top of Delgado’s body after loading it into her car and sat on top of her to drive her to an apartment complex parking lot, where she was later found.
“I was pretty messed up that night,” he told Deegan.
But what he does remember conflicted with statements by witnesses that he drove the car and loaded her body. He told Deegan that friends at his home did those things at his request.
They had returned home, found her unresponsive and tried to find Narcan to reverse the overdose. When that failed, they tried different methods to revive her before realizing she was dead, he said.
He started panicking, he told Deegan, and was “more than” scared. Wallentine said he did another shot of an unspecified drug and was “nodding out on the couch” while his friends loaded her in the back seat of the car. One of them came back in and told him it was taken care of, he said.
Witnesses told investigators that it was Wallentine who dressed her, carried her outside wrapped in a sheet, placed her in the driver’s seat and sat on top of her as he drove across Gillette, court documents said. He disputed those reports, saying he didn’t drive the car and named another man as the driver.
He also admitted that “I honestly don’t remember much” of that evening.
But prosecutor Nathan Henkes with the Campbell County Attorney’s Office said that Delgado’s clothing was tested for DNA. There was no evidence of the alleged driver’s DNA on her, but there was Wallentine’s DNA, Henkes said.
Foreman said the witnesses had reason to downplay their part in it.
Because of the discrepancy in stories, and because Wallentine admittedly couldn’t remember details, Henkes had no objections to him changing his plea to no contest to both charges. Nor did her family, who were present at the Friday hearing.
Delgado, 27, was found dead Oct. 3 in the driver’s seat of her car with a tourniquet around her right arm and a syringe in her lap, which Henkes said Wallentine “staged” to look like she had given herself the overdose.
A source told investigators that, “Wallentine’s intention was to make the situation appear like a suicide,” according to the affidavit of probable cause.
Delgado had gone to Wallentine’s Mecent Avenue home Sept. 30, according to information investigators retrieved from her phone. That night, a confidential source reportedly saw Wallentine and Delgado go into the bathroom, where he appeared to inject her with heroin. She eventually passed out, and by the next day she hadn’t woken up.
Using a number of confidential sources, DCI agents and Campbell County Sheriff’s Office investigators pieced together a series of events in which Wallentine at one point bragged to one of the sources that he had some really good heroin — so good, according to the affidavit of probable cause, “that a girl he hangs around with and uses heroin with had passed out and not awoke since the previous night.”
By The Gillette News Record
Via Wyoming News Exchange