Accused Bellaire Kidnapper Testifies at Trial
ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Gary Edward Anderson-Myers took the stand Wednesday and testified on the second day of his trial for kidnapping and aggravated robbery, claiming that the incident came at the tail end of several days of drug abuse.
Anderson-Myers, 33, of 1731 Guernsey St., Bellaire is accused of abducting Jamie L. Jackson, 35, after an apparent domestic dispute at the Belle Village Apartments in Bellaire in August. Jackson was found unharmed six hours later. Anderson-Myers was arrested three days afterward.
On Tuesday, the prosecution called witnesses, including the property manager of the apartments, who testified that Jackson asked to use the office phone Aug. 15 and asked for a ride, and after speaking to Anderson-Myers when he arrived at the office, she reportedly told him to leave and locked herself inside the office. The property manager testified that Anderson-Myers broke through the door, then appeared to pursue Jackson and leave the office building, pulling her along.
Anderson-Myers’ defense attorney, Bruce Clark, has argued that no abduction took place. He called Anderson-Myers to the stand. After discussing Anderson-Myers’ criminal history, including multiple convictions of misdemeanor-level theft, a felony robbery for which he served time in prison, as well as aggravated assault and fraud charges in West Virginia.
He also admitted to being a drug user. He said he and Jackson had previously been in a relationship and both use methamphetamine. He said they have an overall good relationship, but become paranoid when using meth.
Anderson-Myers traced their activities Aug. 13 through Aug. 15, saying they had been using drugs and moving between the Bellaire and Neffs areas, and stayed with his mother at the Belle Apartments the day of the incident.
“We didn’t do anything the whole time (Aug. 14) except for sit around getting high,” he said. “I recently started shooting up.”
He said they had both used methamphetamines Aug. 15. He said both were becoming paranoid and Jackson began hallucinating people who were not present.
“Whenever she gets so high, she gets upset,” he said. “After she starts using and stuff, you got to keep an eye on her.”
He said he was trying to find new needles for further drug use when he saw Jackson at the property manager’s office. He said both were confused and paranoid.
“I was trying to reassure her,” he said. “I’m telling her that I don’t understand what the issue is. … Whenever she gets high, she thinks everybody’s out to get her.”
“She thought that you had more meth than you disclosed to her?” Clark asked.
“Yeah, … she thinks that I’m leaving and getting high without her,” Anderson-Myers said.
He said he observed a vehicle pull into the lot and Jackson ran into the building.
“I just yanked the door and run in,” he said.
Anderson-Myers said he was distressed at the property manager’s reaction and believed he and Jackson were fleeing together. He said he did not know that he was suspected of kidnapping and believed law enforcement were pursuing him because he broke through the office door. He said Jackson did not believe herself kidnapped when they were avoiding law enforcement and concealing themselves.
Anderson-Myers said Jackson suggested separating so she could find out why law enforcement was looking for him, since she did not believe police would arrest her.
On cross-examination, Belmont County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Kevin Flanagan questioned Anderson-Myers about his criminal record, bringing up charges of violence and charges related to fraud and dishonesty.
“You have been charged, arrested and convicted in the past of domestic abuse, have you not?” Flanagan said.
Anderson-Myers said the majority of cases involved family members he has issues with.
“I grew up in an abusive house,” he said.
Flanagan brought up various arrests and charges. Clark objected that some of these instances did not result in convictions.
“You tried to the establish his character trait for non-violence. That opens the door for Mr. Flanagan,” Belmont County Common Pleas Judge John Vavra said to Clark. Clark also objected he thought some of the questions unclear. Vavra allowed cross-examination to continue.
Trial is expected to continue Thursday, possibly with the jury hearing closing arguments.