Jerry Wayne Walker Found Not Guilty
By WestKyStar Staff
BENTON, KY - After deliberating for four hours, the jury reached a verdict of not guilty Wednesday for Jerry Wayne Walker.
Walker was facing seventeen charges, including arson, manslaughter, assault, and wanton endangerment in connection to a 1998 fire at Hester Hall at Murray State University. The fire killed student Mike Minger and permanently injured student Mike Priddy.
Walker was accused of setting the fire in order to get the attention of his on-again-off-again girlfriend, Jessica Lewter, as it seemed that everytime the two would have trouble, Walker would have some sort of accident. But in his closing argument, defense attorney Richard Null stated that, if Walker started the fire in his room as alleged, why was there no evidence of any container found in his room? He said the only way to have a container and there be no evidence of it at the scene is if you are able to get away from it. Jerry Walker was trapped in his room the night of the fire and, along with other students, had to be rescued by the fire department.
This is the second time Walker has been tried for the crimes. The first trial in 2001 ended in a hung jury.