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Tracy Leean GARRISON





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Kidnapping - Robbery
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: January 14, 2001
Date of birth: 1979
Victim profile: Michael Willison, 39
Method of murder: Shooting
Location: Riverside, California, USA
Status: Sentenced to life imprisonment without parole in 2001

The Court of Appeal of the State of California
Fourth Appellate District

The People v. Joshua Wahlert and Tracy Garrison

C.A. Upholds Convictions of Killers Dubbed ‘Bonnie and Clyde’

By Kenneth Ofgang, Staff Writer/Appellate Courts -

June 27, 2005

A Hemet-area couple who referred to each other as “Bonnie and Clyde,” according to a friend who turned prosecution witness against them, were properly convicted of first degree murder with special circumstances, the Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled Friday.

Div. Two said there was “overwhelming,” “consistent,” and “compelling” evidence that Joshua Wahlert and Tracy Leann Garrison had murdered Michael Willison in 2001, and that they had done so in the course of a robbery and kidnapping. Possible evidentiary or instructional errors by Riverside Superior Court Judge Christian F. Thierbach were harmless beyond a reasonable doubt, Justice Jeffrey King wrote for the panel.

Both defendants were sentenced to life imprisonment without parole. Wahlert drew an additional term of 25 years to life for shooting the victim, along with a three-year term on a separate charge of brandishing a weapon, while Garrison received a one-year enhancement for participating in a crime with an armed accomplice.

Two Juries

Wahlert was 26, and Garrison 22, when the jury found them guilty of killing the 39-year-old Willison, who lived in Temecula. The pair were tried before separate juries that delivered their verdicts within 90 minutes of each other.

Willison was viciously beaten, stabbed five times in the chest and neck, and shot twice in the head. A jogger found his body near some large rocks in a rural area of the county.

Police tied the killing to Wahlert after he was arrested on the unrelated brandishing charge. Police discovered that the truck Wahlert was driving at the time belonged to Willison, and found clothing stained with the victim’s blood, along with his checks, credit cards and business cards.

Garrison was involved romantically with both Wahlert and Willison, and all three were methamphetamine users, witnesses testified. A friend and fellow user, Jon Ramirez, said that Garrison had talked to him about a plan for her and Wahlert to rob and kill Willison, take his money, then go to Las Vegas to get married.

Ramirez testified that nine days before the body was found, he and Willison were smoking methamphetamine when Garrision and Wahlert came in and abducted Willison at gunpoint. Wahlert was the only one who was armed but Garrison appeared a willing participant, he said.

Wahlert later told him that they had killed Willison and gave him some of Willison’s property, he testified.

The juries also heard a tape recorded phone conversation in which the defendants implicated themselves and each other. The “pretext” call was arranged by two detectives, one of whom was with Wahlert at one location and the other with Garrison at a different location.

Intervening Decision

While the appeals were pending, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Crawford v. Washington (2004) 541 U.S. 36, concluding that the use of “testimonial” hearsay—out-of-court statements of other persons obtained for use in prosecution, as to which the declarant cannot be cross-examined—violates the Confrontation Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

Garrison’s court-appointed appellate lawyer, Richard A. Levy of Torrance, argued that because Wahlert did not testify at trial and could not otherwise be cross-examined, the use of his statements on the tape violated Crawford.

King agreed. The justice said the call was not a “casual” conversation akin to what occurs when the police place suspects together in a patrol car, as prosecutors contended, but a carefully planned means of gathering evidence.

But there was no reasonable possibility that Garrison would have received a more favorable verdict if the jury had not heard the tape, King said, citing testimony from several witnesses to whom Garrison related the details of the crime. While that testimony was not entirely consistent, the justice added, it was clear that Garrison was a willing and active participant in the murder, as well as the events leading up to it.

“As to her participation in the murder, whether as a direct perpetrator or as an aider and abettor of Wahlert’s actions, the evidence of Garrison’s guilt was overwhelming without regard to Wahlert’s statements during the pretext call,” the justice summarized.

Unpublished Portion

King also rejected, in an unpublished portion of the opinion, Wahlert’s claim that the verdict was defective because jurors  might have erroneously believed that they could convict him of first degree murder based on implied malice.

The justice agreed that jurors might have been confused because Thierbach gave the standard instructions on murder, both with express and implied malice, but did not give an instruction that murder with implied malice is of the second, not the first, degree.

But since jurors found the kidnap-murder and robbery-murder special circumstance allegations to be true, King explained, they necessarily believed that Wahlert was guilty of first degree felony murder and it made no difference whether they also believed him guilty of malice and premeditation.

The case is People v. Wahlert, 05 S.O.S. 3095.


Tracy Garrison

“Frankly, you scare me to death,” Riverside, California Superior Court Judge Christian Thierbach said to 22-year-old Tracy Garrison before sentencing her to life behind bars with no chance for parole. “You are a frightening, frightening individual.”

Garrison duped her lover, Joshua Blaine Wahlert, into kidnapping and killing inland valley drug dealer Michael Willison, and together the pair was convicted in January 2004 by separate juries of murder with various enhancements that meant the pair will never leave prison.

Last month, the California Court of Appeals upheld the verdicts, which had been appealed in light of a U.S. Supreme Court case that the use of “testimonial” hearsay-out-of-court statements of other persons obtained for use in prosecution, as to which the declarant cannot be cross-examined-violates the Confrontation Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

The police had tapes of Wahlert discussing the crimes, but because Wahlert did not take the stand, Garrison argued on appeal that she could not confront an accuser. The appeals court disagreed, saying the Supreme Court case did not apply here.

Wahlert was living in an RV on property belonging to a friend’s father, and Garrison was a periodit overnight guest. However, court testimony revealed that Garrison and Wahlert argued frequently and she would leave for days at a time to be with Willison.

Willison and Garrison were methamphetamine users and on one occasion while Willison was buying drugs, Garrison told another friend, Jon Ramirez, that she had a plan to rob Willison.

She wanted to give his truck to Wahlert and the two of them would head to Las Vegas to get married. Another time, Wahlert told Ramirez that he wanted “to take everything (Willison) had.”

On January 14, 2001, Garrison and Wahlert, who referred to each other as “Bonnie and Clyde,” made good on their threats.

Willison had just finished smoking meth with Ramirez when Wahlert and Garrison showed up at Ramirez’s home and Wahlert pulled a gun.

Pleading with Wahlert to spare his life because he had two children, Wahlert told him to shut up and gagged his victim. Garrison then taped his hands and mouth with duct tape.

According to Ramirez, who admitted not doing anything to stop the assault, Wahlert never threatened Garrison. It appeared to Ramirez that Wahlert and Garrison were “working together.”

While Garrison took the keys to the truck she coveted for her “Clyde,” Wahlert directed Willison to get in. The trio then drove to a secluded Riverside County area where Willison was shot twice, beaten and repeatedly stabbed.

Then, less than an hour after the the intial attack, Wahlert returned to check on Willison and found him still breathing, according to investigators’ testimony. He had managed to crawl about six feet from where he had been shot. That’s when Wahlert stabbed Willison, according to testimony. A jogger found his body a little over a week later.

After killing Willison, the couple returned to Ramirez’s home and gave him Willison’s ring and a necklace as “compensation to help you out for what went on,” he testified.

They tried to use one of Willison’s credit cards to buy gas for the truck, but it was denied. The couple fled when the attendant went to call police.

Wahlert told another friend that he had taken the truck “from a dude that he killed.” He only intended “to rob the guy and stuff got out of hand.”

The friend testified that Wahlert told him “he shot him, stabbed him, and split.”

A few days later, Wahlert called Ramirez to let him know he and Garrison were heading to Vegas, and asked Ramirez to take care of Willison’s body, which had been left under a tarp.

On January 20, in a drug-induced haze, Wahlert was arrested for brandishing a firearm. While he was being booked, he commented, “I’m looking at 60 years, they just haven’t found out the half of it yet.”

Police found all sorts of incriminating evidence in the truck, including blue jeans with Willison’s blood on them, a payroll check made out to Willison and business cards for his painting business.

After the jogger reported the gruesome find in the rocks outside Temecula, California, the police realized that Willison’s truck had been impounded and found his Social Security Card in the property taken from Wahlert.

Under questioning, Wahlert admitted the crime and wrote a letter to Willison’s children confessing the crime. He told authorities that Garrison was there, but not responsible. She was picked up for interrogation.

Still under the impression that Garrison was only a witness — she would only admit to being in the truck at the scene of the crime — police arranged for Wahlert and her to talk via cell phone.

“During the call, Wahlert and Garrison each made statements directly or indirectly implicating themselves and each other,” wrote the California appellate court.

They began to fight over the phone, with Garrison denying Wahlert’s claims that she told him to “do it.”

“You didn’t tell me to do it?” Wahlert asked as investigators listened in.

“Nope!” Garrison replied.

“Oh, that’s cold, all right,” he responded. “My life’s over because I cared about you.”

“Well, then, you shouldn’t have done it,” she said.

Seeing the handwriting on the wall, Wahlert told the investigators that Garrison had “used me to get this dude done.” He then told authorities that she had taped Willison’s wrists.

Garrison also bragged to friends about her role in the killing, but continued to deny participating to police.

At one point she claimed that she was as much a victim as Willison, and that she went along with the plan because she was afraid Wahlert would kill her, too.

The two juries took less than three hours to return guilty verdicts against the pair.

It was clear to the appeals judges that Garrison was a willing and active participant in the murder, as well as the events leading up to it.

“As to her participation in the murder, whether as a direct perpetrator or as an aider and abettor of Wahlert’s actions, the evidence of Garrison’s guilt was overwhelming without regard to Wahlert’s statements,” their decision states.

Deputy District Attorney Sara Danville told the jury Garrison manipulated Wahlert into shooting Willison because she knew Wahlert was a violent man. “She did that knowing what he would do,” she said.

According to a probation officer’s report, Garrison began using alcohol and methamphetamine at 12, injected heroin three times a week and smoked marijuana daily.

Nicknamed “Bam Bam,” Wahlert began using alcohol at 14 and methamphetamine at 17, and was a Hell’s Angel, the report states.

After they were convicted, Wahlert spoke to the judge, but Garrison did not.

“I don’t deserve to be a free man,” Wahlert said before he and Garrison were sentenced to life in prison without parole. “I don’t want to be on the streets.”

In sentencing Garrison, Judge Thierbach suggested that a movie be made about her to teach children about what meth can do to a person’s life.


Jealousy or robbery? Motive debated in killing

RIVERSIDE ---- Depending on whose story is to be believed, Michael Willison of Temecula was killed nearly three years ago either because an attempt to rob him went bad or one of the accused killers was jealous.

"We'll probably never really know why it happened," Deputy District Attorney Sara Danville said Tuesday

That is because the only people who know the truth, Danville said, are the 39-year-old victim and a man and woman charged with Willison's murder.

Willison's body was found Jan. 23, 2001, by a jogger in the area of Highway 74 and Briggs Road in the Homeland area, partially hidden under a pickup bedliner. He had been shot twice in the head and stabbed five times, including once in the neck.

Joshua Blaine Wahlert, 26, and Tracey Leean Garrison, 22, both from the Hemet area, are on trial on first-degree murder charges in connection with Willison's slaying. If convicted, both could be sentenced to prison for life without the possibility of parole.

Prosecutors allege that Wahlert was the one who fired the shots and stabbed Willison four times, with Garrison later stabbing Willison in the neck when they found him still alive.

Danville says Garrison was in a relationship with both men and that she is the one who orchestrated the Jan. 15, 2001, robbery of the victim.

Garrison's attorney, David Gunn, contends that his client was deathly afraid of Garrison and only stabbed Willison because of that fear.

Frank Peasley, Wahlert's attorney, is hoping a jury will agree with his belief that the murder was done in a jealous rage.

Danville doesn't disagree that there may have been a "love triangle" involving the three. But, she says she is convinced that the motive for Willison's murder was greed.

"(Garrison) was seeing both of these guys at the same time," Danville said after Tuesday's testimony concluded. "It was her idea to do the robbery. They thought (Willison) had more than he did because they knew he was a commercial painter and had this nice truck."

According to testimony presented when the trial started last week, Danville said that the whole thing started at a home near Leon Road and Highway 74, where the defendants bound Willison's hands with duct tape, forced a bandanna in Willison's mouth and covered his mouth with more duct tape.

Willison was then forced at gunpoint to a remote location near some rocks off Highway 74 and killed, the prosecutor said.

On Tuesday, friends of both defendants were called by the prosecution to tell jurors what they had been told happened.

Vernon Wood originally failed to appear on a subpoena to testify in the case and was arrested. He testified Tuesday clad in an orange jail jumpsuit and handcuffed and shackled.

Wood told jurors that he had know Garrison for about five years before the slaying, but only knew Wahlert ---- who is known by the nickname "Bam Bam" ---- for about a month.

He said the two came to the San Jacinto mobile home where he lived at the time in a green pickup. Wood testified that Wahlert said it belonged to someone he had just killed.

Wahlert also said that they had gone to rob Willison "and stuff just got out of hand." Wahlert asked him if he knew where he could find a 50-gallon drum and wanted him to help "bury the dude," Wood said.

In early February 2001, Garrison "spilled her guts" and told him that the killing was her idea, Wood testified. Wood said she told him that she felt bad because a story she had told Wahlert that Willison had sexually assaulted her wasn't true.

As Wood told jurors that, Wahlert ---- who is in a wheelchair after back surgery ---- looked down and shook his head.

During questioning from the two defense attorneys, Wood said he was high on methamphetamine when the two showed up and he first learned about the killing. He also said Garrison looked scared that day and never told him about what happened.

Gunn, Garrison's attorney, also questioned why Wahlert, who barely knew him, would admit to a murder and seek his help.

Tiffany Walls, who called Garrison "my best friend," also testified Tuesday. She said that Garrison told her that "Josh shot some dude" and that "he made her cut his throat."

Walls testified that she determined on her own, not by anything her friend told her, that "Bam Bam was jealous because (Willison) was taking better care of her that he was."

While Garrison's attorney was questioning her, Walls said that she once saw Wahlert become angry at Garrison and elbow her in the face.

When Peasley, Wahlert's attorney, questioned her about testifying because she didn't want Garrison, her friend, to get in trouble or be convicted, Walls responded that she feels people should be responsible when they have done something wrong.

"But I don't feel (Garrison) is guilty of what she's being charged for," Walls said. "Somehow, (Wahlert) made her do it."

There are two juries ---- one selected for each defendant. Jurors will often be in the courtroom at the same time ---- as they were Tuesday, but will sometimes only hear testimony and view evidence regarding the defendant they are assigned to. The case is scheduled to resume Thursday, but testimony regarding only Wahlert will be heard, Danville said.


Filed 6/24/05


THE PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent,  v.  JOSHUA B. WAHLERT et al., Defendants and Appellants.

APPEAL from the Superior Court of Riverside County.

Christian F. Thierbach, Judge.


Defendants Joshua Blaine Wahlert and Tracy Leean Garrison were charged in count 1 of a third amended information with the murder of Michael Willison.  (Pen. Code, § 187, subd. (a).) The murder allegedly occurred while the defendants were engaged in the commission or attempted commission of a robbery (§ 211) and kidnapping (§ 207).  (§ 190.2, subd. (a)(17)(A) & (B).) 

The accusatory pleading further alleged that, in connection with the murder, Wahlert personally and intentionally discharged a firearm causing great bodily injury or death (§§ 12022.53, subd. (d) & 1192.7, subd. (c)(8)), and that Wahlert and Garrison personally used a deadly and dangerous weapon, a knife (§§ 12022, subd. (b)(1) & 1192.7, subd. (c)(23)).  It was further alleged that Garrison participated in the crime knowing that a principal was armed with a gun.  (§ 12022, subd. (a)(1).)

The third amended information further charged Wahlert with being a felon in possession of a firearm (count 2; § 12021, subd. (a)(1)), being a felon in possession of ammunition (count 3; § 12316, subd. (b)(1)), and exhibiting a firearm in a rude, angry, and threatening manner or using a firearm in a fight (count 4; § 417, subd. (a)(2)).

The two defendants were tried jointly before separate juries.  Garrison’s jury convicted her of murder (count 1) and found true the allegations that she committed the murder while engaged in the commission of robbery and kidnapping and of knowing that a principal was armed with a gun.  Her jury found not true the enhancement allegation that she personally used a deadly and dangerous weapon.  She was sentenced to life without possibility of parole, plus a determinate term of one year for the principal-armed enhancement.

The Wahlert jury found him guilty on all counts and found all enhancement allegations true.  He was sentenced to life without possibility of parole on count 1, plus a consecutive sentence of 25 years to life for the gun enhancement and an additional one year on the arming enhancement.  He was further sentenced to three years on count 2, eight months on count 3, and one year on count 4, such terms to run consecutively.  Both defendants were ordered to pay restitution to victims and a restitution fine.  (§ 1202.4, subds. (a) & (b).)

Summary of Facts

Wahlert lived in a recreational vehicle on property belonging to the father of his friend, Jon Ramirez.  Ramirez and his father lived in a house on the property.  In the months preceding the murder of Willison, Garrison stayed intermittently with Wahlert in the recreational vehicle.  The two frequently argued and Garrison would leave for several days at a time to be with Willison.  According to Ramirez, Garrison was confused about who she wanted to be with.

Two or three weeks before Willison was killed, Ramirez, Garrison, and Willison went to the home of “Flako” to buy drugs.  While Willison was inside Flako’s house, Garrison talked to Ramirez about a plan to rob Willison.  She said she wanted to give Willison’s truck and other property to Wahlert and then the two would go to Las Vegas to get married.  She spoke to Ramirez about this plan on two other occasions.  Wahlert separately told Ramirez of his desire to “take everything that [Willison] had.”  Another time, Wahlert, who was jealous of Willison’s relationship with Garrison, said he wanted to “beat [Willison] up.”  Wahlert and Garrison sometimes referred to each other as “Bonnie and Clyde.”

On January 14, 2001, Willison called Ramirez to get some help getting a couch from storage into his truck.  Willison arrived at Ramirez’s home about 10:30 p.m. that night.  The two smoked methamphetamine.  As Ramirez was putting his shoes on to leave with Willison, Wahlert and Garrison entered Ramirez’s home.  Garrison brought in a roll of duct tape and set it on the television set.  Wahlert pulled out a gun and pointed it at Willison. 

When Willison pleaded to spare his life and to not “leave [his] two boys fatherless,” Wahlert told him to shut up and stuck a bandana in Willison’s mouth.  Garrison then taped Willison’s mouth and hands with the duct tape.  She went through Willison’s pockets, taking keys, a wallet, a necklace, and a ring, and threw them on a couch.  Ramirez was, as he said, “[f]reaking out” and telling them, “No, not here.” 

Ramirez testified that he did not do anything to encourage them; but he did not do anything to stop them “[b]ecause [Wahlert] had a gun.”  According to Ramirez, Wahlert never turned the gun toward Garrison, threatened her, forced her, or directed her to do anything.  It appeared to Ramirez that Wahlert and Garrison were “working together.”

Garrison took Willison’s keys.  With Wahlert pointing the gun at Willison, the three went to Willison’s truck.  They drove to a secluded rural area where Willison was severely beaten, repeatedly stabbed, and shot twice in the head.  He died as a result.

Wahlert and Garrison returned to Ramirez’s house in Willison’s truck about 20 minutes after they had left with Willison.  Ramirez told them “to get their stuff and to leave.”  Wahlert told Ramirez he was “sorry for letting that happen,” gave Willison’s ring and necklace to Ramirez as “compensation to help you out for what went on,” and told him, “[d]on’t say a word.”  Wahlert took Willison’s other property, including a $20 bill and credit cards.  Wahlert told Garrison to pack their belongings, which she did.  The two then left in Willison’s truck. 

Later that morning, they tried to buy gas for the truck with one of Willison’s credit cards, but the card was not approved.  When the gas station attendant went to call the police, Wahlert and Garrison left.

Wahlert and Garrison drove the truck to the home of Ed and Donna Geiger, where Vernon Wood was staying.  Wahlert told Wood that he had taken the truck “from a dude that he killed.”  He told Wood that he intended “to rob the guy . . . and stuff got out of hand and he shot him, stabbed him[,] and split.”  Wahlert showed Wood credit cards with the name “Michael” on them.  Wahlert asked Wood to help him bury the victim, but Wood refused.  He also asked Wood where he could get a 50-gallon drum.  Wahlert left a bag of clothes at the house, which Ed Geiger later burned. 

A couple of days after the murder, Wahlert called Ramirez to say that he and Garrison were going to Las Vegas to get married and asked Ramirez to be the best man.  Later, Wahlert told Ramirez that he had shot Willison in the head and put a tarp over him.  He also told Ramirez where the body was located and asked Ramirez to “take care of the body.”

On January 20, 2001, Wahlert and Garrison were in Willison’s truck when Wahlert displayed a gun to two women in another car.  One of the women called her husband, who called 911.  Shortly afterward, Wahlert was arrested for brandishing a firearm.  The police found a .30-caliber gun in the truck and a live round in Wahlert’s pocket.  While being booked on this charge, Wahlert commented:  “I’m looking at 60 years, they just haven’t found out the half of it yet.”

In a subsequent search of the truck, police found, among other items, a pair of blue jeans stained with Willison’s blood, a man’s empty wallet, a black bag, and a red bag.  In the black bag were checks on Willison’s personal bank account, a payroll check made out to Willison, and business cards for Willison’s painting business.  The red bag contained credit cards in Willison’s name and a bandana. 

A couple of days after Wahlert’s arrest, Garrison went to Ramirez’s house and told him that they had to “go back out there and take care of the body.”

On January 23, 2001, nine days after the murder, Willison’s body was found by a jogger.  The body was covered with a tarp or mat.  Police found a piece of duct tape 20 to 30 feet away from the body.  Impressions of tire tracks at the scene matched those of the tires on Willison’s truck. 

After identifying the victim as Willison, police learned that Willison’s car had been impounded in connection with the arrest of Wahlert for brandishing a firearm.  The police then examined the property that was taken from Wahlert when he was arrested and found Willison’s social security card, his contractor’s state license card, and credit cards with Willison’s name on them.

While Wahlert was in custody on the charge of brandishing the firearm, Kevin Duffy, an investigator for the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, interviewed him about Willison after he was advised of, and waived, his rights under Miranda v. Arizona (1966) 384 U.S. 436 [86 S.Ct. 1602, 16 L.Ed. 694].  Audiotaped recordings of these interviews were played in the presence of his jury only. 

Wahlert admitted shooting Willison twice, but stated that he did so after Willison came at him waving a shotgun in his arms.  After shooting Willison, Willison grabbed Wahlert; Wahlert then stabbed Willison.  Initially, he stated that Garrison was not there and did not participate in the killing.  Later, he said that Garrison was there, but that she did not know or do anything.  During one of the interviews, Wahlert wrote a note to Willison’s children at the request of the investigator, in which Wahlert apologized “for the pain that [he has] caused . . . .”

While Wahlert was being interviewed in the district attorney’s office, Garrison was being questioned by an investigator at a sheriff’s station in Hemet.  According to Garrison, she, Wahlert, Willison, and Ramirez were in Ramirez’s house when Wahlert pulled a gun on Willison and had Willison empty his pockets.  Wahlert then told Willison they were “gonna go for a ride.”  Garrison said that she insisted on going with them. 

After driving to a secluded location, Wahlert and Willison walked to a rocky area and argued.  As Garrison started to get out of the truck, she heard two shots; then Wahlert returned and told her to get into the truck.  Sometime later, they returned to the scene to find that Willison had moved about six feet and was alive.  Wahlert then took a knife and walked toward Willison; when he returned, he told Garrison that he had cut Willison’s throat and broke his neck.  Video and audio recordings of this interview were played only to the Garrison jury.

During the day that both Wahlert and Garrison were being separately interviewed, Duffy, who was interviewing Wahlert, and the investigator interviewing Garrison, remained in “constant phone contact” with each other and arranged for Wahlert to telephone Garrison. 

The telephone call was described by Duffy at trial as a “pretext call.”  Duffy informed Wahlert that they “found [Garrison]” and that Wahlert “need[s] to talk to her and tell her to cooperate and tell the truth.”  Duffy told Wahlert that Garrison was in Hemet.  Wahlert asked if she was “at the station,” to which Duffy responded, “No, . . . some other house.”  Duffy then dialed a number on a cell phone and handed the phone to Wahlert.  Wahlert was then connected with Garrison in the Hemet sheriff’s station as Duffy left the room.  In Hemet, an investigator was in the room with Garrison listening to the phone call and “feeding her some questions at times.” The phone call was recorded and the recording played to each jury separately.

During the call, Wahlert and Garrison each made statements directly or indirectly implicating themselves and each other.  When Wahlert told Garrison that he had told Duffy that Willison “pulled a shotgun on” him, Garrison told him that she would “tell [them] the truth before I told [them] that.” 

Wahlert admitted that he had lied “to keep [Garrison] safe.”  Wahlert told Garrison that she was “part of this” and, when Garrison said that she “told them everything that happened from the time we left [Ramirez’s],” Wahlert asked, “Did you tell them you told me to do it?”  When Garrison denied that she told Wahlert “to do it,” Wahlert responded, “Oh, ho!  That’s cold.  All right.”  Later in the conversation, Wahlert told Garrison that he would “take the fall for this.”  Still later in the conversation, there was an exchange that suggested that Wahlert killed Willison because Garrison said she was afraid of Willison. 

When Garrison denied that she was afraid of Willison, Wahlert declared, “My life’s over because I cared about you.”  Garrison responded by telling Wahlert, “Well then you shouldn’t have done it” and that he “should’ve thought about that before.”  Wahlert warned Garrison that the police wanted to “make [her] an accessory,” to which Garrison explained, “[t]he only thing I did, is I was there.”  The following exchange then took place:

            “WAHLERT:  And you didn’t tell me to shoot him?

            “GARRISON:  Nope!

            “WAHLERT:  Oh, ho-oh!  You don’t love me, do you?

            “GARRISON:  You know what does that have to with thing [sic].  I do love you.  But I never told you, I never told you to do anything. . . . I never told you to kill him.  I never told you to shoot him.

            “WAHLERT:  OOOOhhhh!  Tracey!!!!  Tracey!!!!”

Police also recorded one conversation between Wahlert and his mother and another conversation with Wahlert, his mother, and an investigator, both of which were played to his jury only.  During these conversations, Wahlert stated he “did it because I was scared of [Willison].  And I did it because . . . [Garrison] said she was scared of [Willison].”  He told his mother that Garrison told him to kill Willison.  When the investigator was present, Wahlert stated that Garrison had “used me to get this dude done” and that Garrison “set me up to do this.”  Following these interviews and conversations, Wahlert told the investigator that Garrison “duct taped [Willison].”

After Willison’s death, Garrison made admissions to several others about her involvement in the killing.  The night after the killing, she told Tiffany Walls that Wahlert shot a man and that she slit the victim’s throat. Within a couple of days of the murder, she told Kellie White that she had repeatedly stabbed Willison and killed him. 

Within two weeks after the murder, Garrison told Victoria Lauderdale that a man was supposed to give her money and did not; she and Wahlert went to the man’s house where she had taped the man’s hands and legs while Wahlert held him; they robbed him of drugs and money; and then they took him to a field where Wahlert shot him twice. 

She further told Lauderdale that when she and Wahlert returned to the scene of the shooting and found the victim alive, Wahlert cut the man’s throat.  Garrison did not tell Lauderdale that she had been forced to participate in the murder. 

About two weeks after the murder, Garrison told Vernon Wood that she planned to rob Willison; that she bound him with duct tape and robbed him of his truck and $20; and that Wahlert then shot and stabbed him.  On two occasions after Wahlert was arrested, when Ramirez and Garrison were among friends, Garrison “joke[d] around about how much she liked duct tape.” 

Garrison was interviewed by police again in May 2001 and December 2001. In these interviews, Garrison denied having any relationship with Wahlert.  She said that Wahlert told her to duct tape Willison, but she refused.  Rather than insisting upon going with Wahlert and Willison in the truck, as she previously stated, she went along only after Wahlert pointed the gun at her and said “[y]ou’re going too.” 

Garrison explained the apparent inconsistency by stating:  “[Wahlert] said, ‘You’re going too.  Let’s go,’ and then I don’t know if he thought about it or what.  But he wasn’t gonna - he wasn’t gonna let me go with him, and then that’s when I insisted on going.”  She denied taking things from Willison’s pockets and denied stabbing Willison.  She did not try to stop Wahlert, Garrison explained, because she was afraid that he would shoot her too.  At the conclusion of this last interview she was taken into custody.  Audio and video recordings of these interviews were played to Garrison’s jury only.  Neither Wahlert nor Garrison testified at trial.


The judgment against Garrison is affirmed.



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