Walker is charged with the Feb. 14, 2006, murder of his employer, Jerry Harrell, at MotorCycle Sports in Oxford.
Although the evidentiary portion of the trial has been long, the state and the defense basically agree on all but one particular element. Both sides agree on the morning in question, Walker left his home in Heflin, went to see his chiropractor in Lineville, and then went to work. After finding out two of Harrell’s children who also worked in the shop were out sick that day, Walker shot Harrell in the back of the head with a 9 mm handgun in front of at least two witnesses. He then apologized, walked to his car and collected a brief case, then called the U.S. Marshal Service in Washington, D.C.
Both sides also agreed Walker suffers from paranoid schizophrenia, characterized by fixed delusions and audio and visual hallucinations. Since being arrested he has undergone treatment with the drug Haldol, which has made him lucid and competent to stand trial, but he remained convinced of the validity of his previous delusions while testifying.
The exact nature of those delusions was laid out in detail for the jury in almost six hours of rambling videotapes and an additional day of Walker on the stand. In short, his paranoid delusions largely centered on Harrell. According to several rebuttal witnesses called by the state late Friday, however, Harrell was actually an outstanding boss who treated his employees like family and had even paid for Walker’s chiropractor.
Friday opened with testimony from family members regarding Walker’s deterioration over the last several years, including a growing obsession with demons, according to a nephew and his mother.
Walker’s ex-wife and one of his daughters testified the delusions had begun more as eccentricities, but when confronted about them, he took offense. He first told them Willie Nelson had come by the shop to get Walker to work on his motorcycle, since he was the best mechanic there was. About six months later, he claimed Barbara Mandrell had called and asked him out to eat. He also later claimed to take phone calls from Steven Segall, said a character in a Sylvester Stallone movie had been dedicated to him, and he had written songs for the Back Street Boys.
The delusions then began to grow darker and disturbing. He reported going to Wal-Mart one night and seeing all the patrons falling to their knees and acknowledging him as the Messiah. He also began telling them angels frequently played tricks on people and there were demons everywhere. For some time he was convinced that a co-worker named Wolfer was stalking his daughters, and he taught them how to shoot against their will because, he told them “Wolfer is going to come here and rape you.”
He repeatedly accused his wife of stealing money from him and of being an ‘FBI plant’ who was in league with Harrell. He also claimed she had been raped by at least one of Harrell’s associates and one of his brothers.
Walker also would frequently go into the woods behind the trailer dressed all in black and sleep there with a gun, guarding the house. On at least one occasion, he even put a dummy wearing his clothes in a reclining chair.
Following an altercation that turned briefly physical, the girls told their mother they were leaving, and wanted her to come with them. The couple divorced in 2000.
Psychologists Jerry Gragg and Robert Furlong (who gave a videotaped deposition), both testified as to the nature of Walker’s illness.
Both cited his belief he was acting on orders from the U.S. Department of Justice and he heard the voice of God as evidence that, while he understood that murder is illegal, he still did not fully understand the nature of his actions. Both also cited the fact Walker had cut off part of his genitals after the voice of God commanded him to do so that he had a legitimate mental illness and was not looking for an excuse for his actions.
Talladega County District Attorney Steve Giddens pointed out during the tapes, Walker frequently made terribly disparaging remarks about Harrell and several times expressed a desire to kill him personally and get away with it.
The defense points to the fact Walker made no effort to flee the scene afterward as evidence that he did not fully understand what he had just done.
The state’s rebuttal witnesses, including his chiropractor, all testified that Walker had never said anything negative about Harrell to them and seemed normal enough in his social interactions.