[Nameplate] Fair ~ 80°F  
High: 85°F ~ Low: 56°F
Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Updated: Trial of Jason Hays: Jury reaches quick verdict; Guilty

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

It was a quick verdict. In approximately two hours, the jury in the trial of Jason Hays completed their deliberations and returned to the courtroom with a verdict of guilty.

Hays will soon have another sentence to serve, on top of the 12 years, with four suspended, that was handed down to him in November in another meth-related case.

In the current case, Hays was charged with a class B felony: Operating a vehicle with a Schedule I or II controlled substance in the body causing death. Methamphetamine is a Schedule II controlled substance.

At the conclusion of a three-day trial, the jury agreed with Greene County Prosecutor Jarrod Holtsclaw that Hays caused an accident that claimed the life of a young mother, Savanah Allen, on February 15, 2012 in eastern Greene County, and of operating his vehicle with a controlled substance, specifically methamphetamine, in his blood at the time of the crash.

Holtsclaw called more witnesses to the stand when court reconvened Wednesday morning, then Riester called witnesses and presented the case for the defense. Both sides had made their closing arguments by about 3 p.m., the judge gave final instructions to the jury and they began deliberations around 4 p.m. They returned a verdict before 6 p.m.

Holtsclaw began his closing by reminding the jury of the meaning of the phrase "beyond a reasonable doubt." He said he did not have to prove his case beyond all doubt, or any doubt, or a shadow of a doubt, but beyond reasonable doubt. He said he had to firmly convince them of the defendant's guilt.

Using a PowerPoint presentation to illustrate the main points he wanted the jury to consider, Holtsclaw presented a synopsis of the facts, then all witnesses who testified and the important points to remember from their testimony.

Jennifer Johnson drove up on the crash right after it happened and testified that Hays had crawled backwards out of the window of the jeep, that he was bleeding, that he was more concerned about cleaning out the vehicle and that he never asked about the occupant of the other vehicle involved in the crash.

Greene County Sheriff's Deputy Brad Deckard, the first officer to arrive on the scene, said he offered a chemical test to Hays but he refused then left the scene with a parent, saying he was going to go to a hospital.

Greene County Sheriff's Detective Christopher McDonald said it was a chaotic scene and he saw blood in Hays' Jeep but no sign of contamination. Later in the day, McDonald checked with area hospitals to interview Hays and get a blood draw but found Hays did not go to any hospital. Holtsclaw said McDonald secured the Jeep, obtained search warrants and sent evidence to laboratories for analysis. He also testified he spent over a month trying to locate Hays.

Kevin Shanks, a forensic toxicologist, performed tests on the blood samples and determined the blood did contain methamphetamine.

Susan Laine, a forensic DNA analyst with the Indiana State Police laboratory in Evansville, testified that DNA testing showed the blood in the Jeep was a match to Hays.

ISP Trooper Justin Butler testified about his roll in transporting evidence.

Andy Clark, an accident reconstructionist who's been with the ISP for 22 years, assisted in evidence collection and analyzed data from the event data recorders in both vehicles. Allen's vehicle was too old to get much data but he testified data from the Jeep revealed Hays was going 60 mph, had not made a sudden turn and had not applied his brakes.

Greg Day, an ISP accident reconstructionist who worked the scene, testified the impact happened near the center of Allen's lane.

Emergency medical personnel who offered assistance to Hays, Kelli Spelts and David Ausman, both testified they thought Hays was going to the hospital with his parent.

Connie Baker, the defendant's mother, testified she owned the Jeep and she kept it immaculate. Holtsclaw said she testified that it was the first time she loaned her vehicle to Hays, and that she loaned it to him "in a weak moment" and that Hays convinced her not to go to the hospital, that Hays was distraught when McDonald came to her house that night, and that Hays left the house the next day.

In Riester's closing argument, he said a deputy and the paramedics saw no indication Hays was on meth and there was reason to question the lab results.

Riester said the tests did not say there was methamphetamine in the blood when it was in his body, just that there was meth in the blood drop when it was collected.

The tests performed can detect a very small amount of meth and Riester contended that Det. McDonald had been wearing a coat when he was doing meth investigations, could have had meth on the coat, wore the same coat when collecting the blood samples and it could have contaminated the sample.

Riester also suggested that someone could have had meth in the car at some time in the past and that could have contaminated the samples.

Riester also criticized Trooper Day saying he was young and inexperienced, did not handle the scene properly, did not do his job, and got an incomplete analysis.

Riester said, "All the evidence we've heard is flawed. It's all flawed" and if there was a reasonable doubt, then the jury must find Hays not guilty.

In his rebuttal, Holtsclaw said Trooper Day could not have been more clear about who caused the crash and he reminded the jury that Savanah Allen was a beautiful young mother whose life was taken by the defendant's recklessness. He said he would have subpoenaed medical records for Hays but Hays didn't go to the hospital.

"There's a reason why he wouldn't go to the hospital, would not take the test, and was willing to lose his license for a year," said Holtsclaw.

The jury reached a guilty verdict despite not knowing the following facts, which could not be brought up during the trial:

* When Det. McDonald reviewed Hays' criminal history, he found Hays was convicted in Lawrence County on Jan. 23, 2012, of purchasing more than 3.6 grams of precursors in a day.

* And that Hays was convicted in Monroe County on Jan. 26, 2012 of purchasing more than nine grams of precursors within a 30-day period.

* And that, at the time the current case was filed, Hays was out on bond from Daviess County where he was facing two class B felony counts for dealing in methamphetamine as well as charges for possession of chemical reagents or precursors with intent to manufacture and unlawful possession of a syringe.

* And, that Det. McDonald finally found Hays when he was arrested in Greene County, in the Lawrence Hollow area, on March 30, 2012. In the probable cause filed in that case, Greene County Sheriff's Det. George Dallaire alleged that Hays was stopped when he was in the process of making meth by a "one-pot" method while driving in a vehicle and that Hays had this portable meth lab in a black duffel bag on the floor board of the vehicle. The affidavit details a long list of chemicals, precursors and equipment that Hays was allegedly carrying in the vehicle. A number of serious charges were filed against Hays. He signed a plea agreement pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit dealing in methamphetamine, a class B felony. On Nov. 14, he was sentenced to 12 years in prison with four suspended.

Hays still faces sentencing in the current case.

Note: The nature of the Internet makes it impractical for our staff to review every comment. If you feel that a comment is offensive, please Login or Create an account first, and then you will be able to flag a comment as objectionable. Please also note that those who post comments on gcdailyworld.com may do so using a screen name, which may or may not reflect a website user's actual name. Readers should be careful not to assign comments to real people who may have names similar to screen names. Refrain from obscenity in your comments, and to keep discussions civil, don't say anything in a way your grandmother would be ashamed to read.

well-said, Savanah's father ! I'm glad he's going to be locked up - and I hope they throw away the key ! May Savanah rest in peace !

-- Posted by cruella on Wed, Jan 30, 2013, at 7:41 PM

My neice was a wonderful woman. Her family misses her every day. Her daughter will grow up without her mother. There can be nothing worse. There could be no other verdict than guilty.

-- Posted by AJW on Wed, Jan 30, 2013, at 8:45 PM

Our gratitude goes to Prosecutor Holtsclaw, Detective McDonald, the jury and everyone else who helped to bring justice to Savanah, Josh & Chloe. You did an excellent job in very difficult circumstances. Now our sweet angel can rest in peace. Many thanks from the Allen Family.

-- Posted by gocolts on Wed, Jan 30, 2013, at 9:01 PM

Savannah's Dad, even though it appears your post has now been redacted, I just want you to know that I will be praying for your peace. It is clear you are filled with rage and hatred, which impacts you more than anyone else. Mr. Hays and his family are suffering too. I pray you can forgive and let go or it will eat you alive.

So sorry for the loss of your beautiful daughter may she rest in God's peace.

-- Posted by Greene CoChristian on Wed, Jan 30, 2013, at 9:01 PM

I sit here stunned at the little time this man will serve for murdering my niece. For the person who says that his family is suffering, they helped him get away at the scene and as far as I am concerned they should be charged too. My anger does not hurt me at all and I will never, ever forgive this man or his family for the injustice that was done to Josh & Chloe and the rest of our family!

-- Posted by FHuber on Wed, Jan 30, 2013, at 9:32 PM

No, no rage. Actually i feel sorry for the miscreant. Jail will be a nice respite for Jason from all the hubbub of being a chef....wait that's meth cook.

-- Posted by Savanah's Father on Wed, Jan 30, 2013, at 9:37 PM

FHuber, his sentence has not been passed down yet. We don't know at this time how much time he has to serve. He could received as much as 20 years, I believe.

-- Posted by gocolts on Wed, Jan 30, 2013, at 9:39 PM

Well said Savanah's dad!

The person who said the drug addict's family is suffering. They still have their meth head. My friend lost his wife, their daughter lost her mommy before she even had a chane to say the words "I love you mommy", and her dad lost his daughter. So I think his rage and suffering trumps theirs.

-- Posted by EarsWithFeet123 on Wed, Jan 30, 2013, at 9:44 PM

Thank you Greene County. Thank you attorney Holtsclaw you did a wonderful job in summation. My angel Vana would have been happy.

-- Posted by Savanah's Father on Wed, Jan 30, 2013, at 9:56 PM

Savanah was such a sweet girl. Even those who only knew her a little, are so hurt by her loss. I miss her terribly, and I know many others do, too. It's awful that Chloe has to grow up without her mother at her side, to help her and guide her. Jason Hays deserves to rot in jail for what he did to my friend, and the friend of many others. I feel no sadness for him, nor his family. Considering they did nothing to keep Hays from drugs, or driving while on drugs. They helped him, even after he killed a sweet, young mother of a nine month old(at the time). He deserves the worst, and I hope he gets it.

-- Posted by deasgirl on Wed, Jan 30, 2013, at 10:00 PM

Even with all that was suppressed, justice prevailed. Shame the maximum penalty is not long enough in this case.

Prayers to all affected by this tragedy.

-- Posted by Blueyedame on Wed, Jan 30, 2013, at 10:22 PM

I am so glad they found him guilty and i hope he gets at least 20yrs or more. As for his family forget about feeling sorry for them, at the time i wrote a response to the story i didnt know his family helped him sounds to me like his family condoned what he was doing.

His mom only loaned the Jeep once to him !lets get real. Seems she cant tell the truth either. She knew there was a fatal accident he caused and did not take him to hospital and did not notify police he didnt go and that he left her home, she is no better then he is or the rest of his family.I hope the sentence is set up that he does not get to appeal the case and has to serve the full time. Nothing ever takes the hurt away there is a big hole in Mrs. Allens families heart that will never heal. God bless you

-- Posted by ivfaambell@gmail.com on Thu, Jan 31, 2013, at 12:05 AM

I would like to first give my condolences to the Allen family. Nobody including Jason wanted or is glad that this tragedy happened. It seems many people leaving comments are quick to condemn Jason as being a horrible person who deserves nothing but scorn and hatred and that his parents do not deserve much better. The truth is this was all a terribly horrible ACCIDENT. This could have happened to anyone, anywhere. People are saying Chloe will grow up without her mother. This is NOT what Jason wanted. He did not plan or intend for this to be her future. Jason also has a son that he loves very much. A son that has to grow up without his father. Jason has made mistakes, we all have, but he is no monster and he did not do any of this on purpose. As for those who are saying his mother lied and covered for him, you are wrong. She did not say anything at all but the truth. This woman had to testify at her sons trial which would have been hard for anyone. This is a good woman you are talking about. One who loves her son and is hurting for him. She did not cover for him and if you would have been present ay the trial you would have seen this to be true. Jason and his parents are also living this nightmare and would change things if they could. I am asking that people try and see this for what it is, a horrible accident and consider that a big part of Jasons life was taken that day also.

-- Posted by francesS on Thu, Jan 31, 2013, at 1:19 AM

So sad all around! I am so sorry that this little girl has to grow up without her mother by her and so sad for her family as well. I pray that everyone can eventually find God's peace in this horrific tragedy. Please give the little girl lot's of hugs and love everyday as her mother would have done and when she is old enough let her ask about her mother and tell her all about her, this will, I assure you, all you who take care of her give her peace and help her with the loss of not knowing her mother. I am also saying a special prayer for her father and this great loss he is going through. I didn't know Savannah but it sounds like by the things I've read said about her that you gave her a wonderful life, so sorry it was cut short by a useless drug! God bless your family and may He show You great mercy through this time.

-- Posted by sassy12 on Thu, Jan 31, 2013, at 2:18 AM

i feel sorry for both families and thier friends all thier lives will never b the same may they all find peace that little girl needs them

-- Posted by bumperbiker on Thu, Jan 31, 2013, at 6:17 AM

So thankful to read justice prevailed for once...and I agree that this was NO ACCIDENT! He has a long line of bad choices turned to convictions. People like this do NOT think about anyone other than themselves. And for someone who has a son, he has a funny way of showing he cares about him. People who love their children do not make ridiculous choices and set bad examples for them to follow. They teach their children morals...right from wrong...by leading from example. There is no hope for this man (if that's what we should call him) in society, and I am thankful for the jury in this case. May God bless Savannah's family.

-- Posted by 3rsmom on Thu, Jan 31, 2013, at 9:52 AM

The blame can go so many ways. He has done time twice already in Greene Co. prior to all the other charges listed above. The court system knew he had a problem yet never sentenced him to a rehab program. So many times they just lock up these addicts for a year or so then let them go and expect them to have learned their lesson! He should have done some real time the first time instead of waiting until someone died. If you ask me the court system needs to take partial blame for not sending him to treatment the first time.....or second! He may have gotten the help he needed and not only changed his life but saved the life of Savanah Allen as well, which in turn would have allowed both Savanah's daughter and Jason's son to have grown up with their parents. Start sending these people away the first time around instead of slapping them on the wrist and sending them on their way!

-- Posted by StrengthNGod on Thu, Jan 31, 2013, at 12:06 PM

I just so happened to run into Jason a couple weeks prior to the accident. He was driving his moms jeep.

-- Posted by leilo on Thu, Jan 31, 2013, at 2:42 PM

Glad they found this drugie guilty...He shouldn't have been on the streets anyway....

-- Posted by lbyutzy on Thu, Jan 31, 2013, at 3:52 PM

I would like to say "thank you" to Mr. Holtsclaw, the Indiana State Police, & the Greene Co. Sheriffs department for all the hard work they did on this case. Also a very special thank you to the jurors who came to the right conclusion based on all the evidence. Savanah's family will always miss her, that will not change, but hopefully we can all find some closure when all of this is finished. God bless Josh, Chloe, & all of her family.

-- Posted by missingvana on Thu, Jan 31, 2013, at 5:37 PM

You never know how you will react until you are faced with exactly the same situation. Don't judge -pray!

-- Posted by dorkey1 on Thu, Jan 31, 2013, at 8:41 PM

Glad to see that justice was finally served although it seems too little too late.

To the persons defending the monster who did this... He's not some poor child who did some bad things and made some mistakes. He's a grown man who manufactured illegal and very dangerous drugs..a substance that slowly kills those who are addicted. This substance ruins lives and tears families apart every day and he knowingly shared his problem with others with no fear of consequences or regard for the lives of others. He had many close calls, you'd have thought maybe that would wake his family up, maybe get him some help, or at least keep him away from any motorized vehicles of theirs. This was going to happen sooner or later one way or another, that much is very apparent. It's just a shame he had to take innocent lives down with him for people to see who he really was. Shame on him, and shame on those in his family who are belittling what he did. I was disgusted that his mother seems like she actually aided in him trying to get out of it. That is not someone who is sorry for what they did, that is someone worried about their own hide. Very glad to have him off the streets and away from people so he can't hurt anyone else.

-- Posted by lilpendragon on Thu, Jan 31, 2013, at 10:49 PM

FHuber, his sentence has not been passed down yet. We don't know at this time how much time he has to serve. He could received as much as 20 years, I believe.

-- Posted by gocolts on Wed, Jan 30, 2013, at 9:39 PM

The state of IN is stupid even if he got the 20 years he will only end up doing 10 yrs max, it is a 2:1 here so every day counts as 2 days. He will not get enough time for me, ever.

-- Posted by FHuber on Fri, Feb 1, 2013, at 11:56 AM

The best thing for Jason Hays is to go to jail. Whether they understand it or not, this is also the best thing for his family. Having a family member who uses and makes meth is horrendous and he cannot have been a good son, husband or father while using. Hopefully he will get straight while in prison. While I'm sure his family is hurt by this, they have only Jason to blame.

To the Allen family, the tragedy and real heartache is yours and I send my sincere sympathy for all your pain and loss. May the hole in your hearts heal enough for you to focus on the good times you had with Savanah.

-- Posted by Ellie on Fri, Feb 1, 2013, at 6:24 PM

Ellie - well said and exactly true.

-- Posted by dorkey1 on Sat, Feb 2, 2013, at 9:36 AM

Ellie, his family agrees.

-- Posted by dorkey1 on Sat, Feb 2, 2013, at 9:42 AM

I hope now my beautiful little angel can rest in peace now that Mr. Hays has been convicted. As to his family and friends, I feel no sadness for you. Until you lose a daughter or son caused by a drug related accident, you will NEVER know how we feel. I no longer have my daughter calling me just to chat 3-4 times a day, and before hanging up saying "I love you" to each other. Or, me calling Savanah, my daughter, my best friend, telling her my problems or her telling me hers. Going to lunch and going to Bath and Body works to smell the new fragrances of candles and sprays. Or, just coming to Nashville to be together. I will never have these times with Savanah

again. I will see to it that Chloe is not damaged as well by Hays' actions. But, I do dread the day when she asks "what happened to my mommy". What do I say? All this sorrow for a "high". I will love and miss you forever Savanah. You will always be in my heart and thoughts. Mom

Note to Mr. Hays, I pray that you receive the maximum sentence for my daughter's death. With none being suspended so you don't bring the horrible suffering to another family as you have brought to mine.

-- Posted by Savanahsmother on Sat, Feb 2, 2013, at 12:50 PM

My heart breaks for the Allen family. I cannot even BEGIN to imagine the heartbreak that would come with losing a child. I have two small children myself and would rather die than face the thought of knowing life without them. You will only find strength to get through this in the Lord! God too knows the pain of losing a child. Reach out to him in everything and raise Chloe to know the love of Christ! What a GLORIOUS reunion it will be in heaven the day mother and daughter are reunited! My prayers go out to the entire family!! May you all find a peace beyond understanding as you go through the emotions of anger, grief and sorrow. It is a process and I'm sure you all have felt a wide array of emotions through out the last year. It must have been very hard going through this trial especially so close to the year anniversary of Savannah's death. Let this be a time to grow closer to the Lord!

-- Posted by StrengthNGod on Sun, Feb 3, 2013, at 8:01 PM

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: