Jerry Wayne Walker, Jr., pled guilty this morning to tampering with evidence in the 1998 Murray State dorm fire that killed student Michael Minger. The Calloway County Circuit Clerk’s office reports Walker will serve five years unsupervised probation for six tampering with evidence charges. His plea deal also mandates Walker write an apology letter for fabricating evidence, and perform community service at Murray State’s Michael Minger memorial.
To keep his deal Walker must remain drug and alcohol free and not commit any other offenses. Walker was acquitted in July on murder and arson charges for the same incident. It was his second time to face those charges after a 2001 trial ended with a hung jury.
Walker's attorney Dennis Null says he's very satisfied with the end of the case. Nulls says the agreement includes a diversion, which means if Walker follows the deal's stipulations, the charges will be dismissed. The deal also allows Null's previous murder and arson charges to be expunged.
Commonwealth Attorney Mark Blankenship says this was not the end result his office set out for when they started to prosecute this cold case, because there is still no person convicted for setting the fire at Hester Hall. However, Blankenship says this is a good result because Walker admitted his guilt in writing false letters that confused the fire investigation. Blankenship says those letters make the case very difficult to continue to prosecute.