Suspect in court in connection with deadly Niles hit skip as family holds vigil

Local News

NILES, Ohio (WKBN) – A beautiful soul — that’s how family and friends describe Diana St. Julian. Troopers say St. Julian was hit by a car over the weekend and that the driver took off.

The suspect was in court Tuesday, the same day a vigil was held to remember the woman who was killed. Her family and friends say she was an angel on earth.

“Just quirky. She was Diana, just amazing,” said her sister, Tracy Thompson.

“She was just really, really sweet, really kind. It’s a real tragedy what happened,” said Katie Hiser, St. Julian’s friend since middle school.

James Markley, of Southington, is being held without bond on felony charges of aggravated vehicular homicide and leaving the scene of an accident in the death of St Julian.

Markley was arraigned in Niles municipal court Tuesday. He will be back in court Wednesday for a preliminary hearing.

Markley is accused of hitting St. Julian on North Main Street early Sunday morning and leaving the scene. St. Julian passed away from injuries she sustained in the accident. Her family and friends say she was a kind and loving woman who was taken away too soon.

James Markley of Southington, Ohio charged with aggravated vehicular homicide
James Markley

“I just want him to know that he took a beautiful life that impacted so many people and made so many people happy. He just took that away from us in one second, and it didn’t even seem like he cared,” said Holly May, St Julian’s cousin.

St. Julian’s family and friends donned her signature pashminas Tuesday to talk about the kind, loving woman who left her mark on so many.

“I don’t even think that Diana realizes how much she impacted people’s lives. You know, she impacted so many people with her positivity and her positive words,” said Heather Bennett, St. Julian’s friend.

A vigil was held honoring her life at a car wash near the scene of the crash.

Some friends in attendance knew her for a decade or more, while others only a few short months.

“She was such an amazing person, so it doesn’t surprise me that she made an impact on so many people,” said friend Sarah Kaplin.

Kaplin met St. Julian by chance through a camping website only a few months ago.

“We met up together, and she was a really awesome person. We had a great time. We laughed and shared a lot of stories around the campfire,” she said.

But that laughter has faded to tears.

“Now this other is never going to see her child again, and her child is never going to see her,” Hiser said.

As her loved ones are left behind to console each other over candlelight.

“I know that she is in a better place, and I know that she is resting peacefully. That brings me some type of peace,” Kaplin said.

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