Husband, Drug Dealer Face Murder Charge After Woman’s Deadly Overdose
By Mike Perleberg
James Trimnell (left) and Nathaniel Walmsley. Photos by Ripley County Sheriff’s Office.
(Batesville, Ind.) – A July overdose at a Batesville home during a family barbecue has led to murder charges against the OD victim’s husband and the man who allegedly dealt the drugs.
Ripley County Prosecutor Ric Hertel announced on Wednesday that his office has filed Murder charges against Nathaniel Walmsley, 36, and James Trimnell, 38. Hertel said he believes it’s the first time a murder charge has been filed for a drug overdose in Indiana.
“The decision to file a felony murder did not come without much discussion with the city police chief and the detective and some research by the prosecutor’s office,” the prosecutor said, adding that many will be watching the case to see how it unfolds.
Walmsley’s wife, 36-year-old Rachel Walmsley, died after they used heroin together during a cookout at their home last July 30. According to a probable cause affidavit detailing the investigation, the couple had gone to a bathroom and shot up together.
Afterwards the two smoked a cigarette. Sometime later, Nathaniel asked himself “Where’s Rachel?” He went back to the bathroom and found her lying there unresponsive.
Despite noticing Rachel’s weak pulse and shallow breathing, Nathaniel did not call 911. He and the couple’s 15-year-old son carried Rachel to an upstairs bedroom. Nathaniel told investigators he cut up the syringe they had used and discarded it in woods near the residence.
Eventually, Nathaniel and his son carried Rachel to his car. He took her to the hospital where she would be pronounced dead. A doctor would determine that Walmsley had died of acute fentanyl and ethanol intoxication.
About three weeks later, Batesville Police detective Blake Roope obtained a search warrant for Nathaniel Walmsley’s phone records. Texts between Walmsley and James Alvin Trimnell sent on the same day as the fatal overdose appeared to arrange for the sale of heroin.
In an interview with police on September 14, Nathaniel Walmsley allegedly admitted to police that he had purchased up to a gram of heroin from Trimnell for $100. He described how he and Rachel had used the drug.
“In hindsight as Nathaniel Walmsley was standing in the hallway and Rachel Walmsley was lying on the bathroom floor, he remembers thinking she was probably dead. He wasn’t sure if he could detect any vital signs,” Roope wrote in the court affidavit.
Police also interviewed Trimnell, who allegedly told them that he had dealt a drug he believed to be heroin to the Walmsleys on that day. He had gotten the drugs in Cincinnati off of the Mt. Healthy exit and delivered it to the Walmsley home, police say.
Nathaniel Walmsley and James Trimnell each face 45 up to 65 years in prison if convicted of Murder. They were arrested November 7 and remain held in the Ripley County Jail pending their initial appearances in court.
Batesville Chief of Police Stan Holt said law enforcement wants to send the strongest message possible to drug dealers.
“We are not going to just turn a blind eye when these people are overdosing and not going after these drug dealers,” said Holt.