The state rested its case Tuesday afternoon in the trial of a Miller County man accused of raping an 18-year-old male relative in his childhood.
Michael David Lee Walker, 32, is charged with rape and sexual indecency with a child which allegedly occurred when the teen was 5 to 7 years of age. The teen testified Tuesday that his family threatened to cut off contact with him if he testifies against Walker, under questioning from Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Kristian Robertson. In opening statements, Robertson described the teen as “a broken child.”
The teen testified that Walker rubbed lotion on his legs when he was 5 or 6 and then rubbed himself on the boy’s legs to sexually satisfy himself. The teen further testified that he felt “disgusting” when made to perform a sexual act on Walker and that Walker threatened to kill him if he told of the abuse.
The alleged victim, who often had to be asked to speak up, told the jury that Walker has called him repeatedly from the jail.
“He’s threatened me, apologized to me, a bunch of stuff,” the teen said under questioning from Robertson.
Retired Miller County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Don Thornell said he was among the officers to respond to a call on Highway 267 in Doddridge, Ark., regarding a child sexual assault Aug. 6, 2015. Thornell said the scene on property where many members of the alleged victim’s family lived in two trailer homes was chaotic, especially when Walker fled into the woods nearby.
MCSO Detective Patsy DeHart testified that after she acquired a warrant for Walker’s arrest in August 2015, it took weeks and the assistance of U.S. Marshals and a number of other law enforcement agencies to bring Walker into custody. DeHart said Walker’s family members said he was willing to kill police who tried to arrest him while attempting to steer their search for him in the wrong direction. Deputy U.S. Marshal Matt Bremer testified that multiple agencies coordinated, including the use of helicopters, SWAT teams and police canines, to take Walker into custody but that he was able to elude them until Sept. 15, 2015. Walker was arrested in Oklahoma. Under questioning from Texarkana defense attorney Darren Anderson, DeHart testified that Walker did not have a gun when he was apprehended.
A forensic interviewer with the Texarkana Children’s Advocacy Center testified that she interviewed the teen in 2015 after the allegations surfaced. Melanie Halbrook said the teen provided a consistent account of abuse.
After the state rested its case Tuesday afternoon, Anderson called the alleged victim’s mother to testify. The mother had only answered a few questions before Circuit Judge Carlton Jones put the jury in an evening recess but it was clear she does not support her son’s allegations against Walker, to whom she is related, or his decision to testify.
Walker has been accused of molesting two female relatives as children as well. Charges in those cases remain pending in Miller County. Walker is charged with rape and sexual indecency with a child for misconduct with the teen boy which allegedly occurred when he was 5, 6 or 7. Anderson argued Tuesday that the state has not proven when the alleged crimes occurred with enough specificity and asked Jones to dismiss the case. Jones declined.
The alleged victim’s mother is expected to continue testifying under questioning from Anderson on Wednesday morning. Walker faces 25 to 40 years or life in prison if convicted of rape and up to six years in prison if convicted of sexual indecency. A jury of eight men and four women was selected Monday to decide the case.
Last year, Michael Walker’s wife, Sarah Walker, pleaded guilty to sexually abusing the boy when he was 10 and 13. She is serving a seven-year term of probation and must register as a sex offender.