Judge could dismiss charges against Jerry Walker


Reporter - Lauren Adams
Photojournalist - Randall Barnes

CALLOWAY COUNTY, KY-   When Judge Dennis Foust asked both sides if they were ready to proceed Friday afternoon, they did not hesitate.



Richard Null and Mark Blankenship were not just ready to proceed they were ready to battle.

Jerry Walker was back in court on tampering chargers and Null argued he should not be there.  He told the court the new set of charges violated his client's constitutional rights.

A hung jury had allowed Walker to go free back in 2001.  Then, in late July, another jury acquitted Walker on all charges related to a deadly dorm fire at Murray State back in 1998.

In the days that followed, the state charged Walker with tampering with evidence.  The new charges stemmed from a series of letters he wrote in the days following the fire, where he accused others of starting it.

"What the Commonwealth is doing is saying, 'We're going to charge you with something to get you to admit to something the jury says you didn't do.'  That's it," Null told the judge.

Null calls it selective prosecution- targeting Walker and no one else connected to the case. Commonwealth's Attorney Mark Blankenship says he is not trying to persecute Walker, just prosecute him:

"There is nothing personal going on here with me and Jerry Walker.  I'm the Commonwealth Attorney and I believe in this case," he said.

He told the judge he offered to join the charges in question seven days before Walker went to trial.

"They did not want to try the tampering charge with the other charges because it would have rained on their acquittal. He would have been convicted," Blankenship said.

Once again he offered Walker a deal, "I'm not asking you to lie but if you did it you can admit it and apologize. And that would be the end of it."

But Walker never even looked up and Null told the judge he was not interested in a deal,"The only appropriate thing to do is to dismiss this."

Judge Dennis Foust said he hopes to make a decision in the next two weeks on whether Walker will go to trial.