- Ben Brasch, Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Walter Gabriel’s wife of 26 years said they locked eyes before he ran her over with his tractor-trailer.
She testified to as much at his trial, which ended Thursday with an aggravated assault conviction.
Gabriel, 56, faces up to 170 years in prison. His sentencing hearing has not yet been set, according to the Cobb district attorney’s office.
The defense argued that what happened on Sept. 25, 2015, was an accident.
“But what do you do after you cause an accident? You say you’re sorry. You say you didn’t mean for this to happen. Mr. Gabriel has never apologized for hitting his wife with his vehicle. He never visited her in the hospital. His actions were malicious. He knew what he’d done,” prosecutor Jared Parrish told jurors.
About 2 a.m. in September 2015, Gabriel and his wife were arguing about his “infidelity” at an extended-stay motel on Powers Ferry Road.
Gabriel was a long-haul trucker, and sometimes his wife, who prosecutors said has multiple sclerosis, would accompany him on the road.
According to a warrant, Gabriel had a mistress and was mad that his wife had put “the mistress’ seductive photos on Facebook.”
He got into his truck to leave and his wife followed after him to get her medication from the cab, but he locked it, the warrant said. So she walked around to the front of the truck and “begged” for him to open the door.
“She testified that they made eye contact before he put the truck in gear and accelerated toward her,” unable to get out of the way due to her disability, the DA’s office said.
After hitting her with the truck, he drove off.
The wife told investigators that she thought he was just trying to scare her, adding that he has done this before but this time she fell on her side.
Her femur, fibula, left foot and two ribs were broken, the warrant said, prompting two operations. She is now 54.
Gabriel was convicted of aggravated assault, four counts of aggravated battery, four counts of serious injury by vehicle and two of hit and run.