Last November, a Bellaire man made headlines when he sped away from a simple traffic stop and barricaded himself in his Rosser Avenue home.
More than two dozen Ohio State Highway Patrol officers surrounded Walter Burkhart’s house, concerned because it was known that he owned firearms.
Bellaire Police Chief Mike Kovalyk went in, and talked Burkhart into surrendering himself peacefully.
Now, just a week before Burkhart’s trial is to start, he’s pleading guilty.
His attorney says the 51-year-old Burkhart panicked that day, due to having been held up a gunpoint at his job as a clerk, several years earlier.
“An individual came in, held a gun to his abdomen, pulled the trigger twice, but fortunately for my client, the gun misfired twice,” said Elgine McArdle, Burkhart’s defense attorney. “Since then, he’s had several car accidents and concussions. And the culmination of all of those various things led him to be spooked on that particular day.”
Burkhart is pleading guilty to one count of fleeing from an officer and one count of aggravated menacing.
Police originally stopped him for having an expired registration.
In court, he said he has only an eighth grade education, and can not read or write.
His sentencing is set for September 27 before Judge Frank Fregiato.