Foust sets Walker manslaughter trial date

Staff Report 

Jury selection in the case against former University student Jerry Walker is scheduled for July 6, and the trial is set to ensue shortly afterward.

Walker, 35, of west Paducah, Ky., was indicted for a second time due to his alleged connection with the 1998 Hester College fire.

A status hearing was held on Dec. 22 in Calloway County Circuit Court to determine if the case will proceed to trial.

The 2001 trial ended with a hung jury, a mistrial and dismissal without prejudice, meaning Walker could face charges again. The case had to be brought to the grand jury to show there was enough evidence to start a new investigation.

During the status hearing, Walker’s attorneys, Dennis Null of Mayfield, Ky., and Richard Null of Paducah, Ky., filed a motion asking Circuit Judge Dennis Foust to reconsider his order dismissing the case.

Null said Walker has a scheduled appearance for a status hearing Monday. Attorney Mark Blankenship said he wants the trial to remain in Calloway County. Null may petition the court for a change of location.

Walker is charged with second-degree manslaughter, first-degree arson of a public building, second-degree assault and 14 counts of first-degree wanton endangerment. According to the Kentucky State Police, he threatened the welfare of others.

Walker has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Walker, who was 22 at the time of the incident, was initially charged with murder and arson.

The trial is set to take place in Calloway County.