An 18-year-old man told a Miller County jury Tuesday that his family has threatened to sever contact with him for testifying about sexual abuse he claims he suffered as a child at the hands of an older male relative.
Michael David Lee Walker, 32, faces a minimum of 25 years in prison if found guilty of rape. The teen struggled and spoke softly when questioned by Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Kristian Robertson and Walker's defense lawyer, Darren Anderson of Texarkana.
The teen said he was as young as 5 when Walker rubbed lotion on him and used his lower extremities to sexually gratify himself.
The alleged victim told the jury Walker also forced him, at age 6 or 7, to perform sexual acts on Walker that made him feel "disgusting."
"I didn't tell anybody for a long time because I just wanted to forget about it," the teen said.
The teen said his family has promised to cut him out of their lives for testifying and that Walker has called him from jail and that members of his family encouraged him not to appear in court.
"He has threatened me, apologized to me, a bunch of stuff," the alleged victim said.
Miller County Sheriff's Office Detective Patsy DeHart testified that Walker admitted to inappropriate conduct with the alleged victim that would constitute sexual indecency with a child, but that Walker denied the conduct at the center of the rape charge during an interview in late September 2015. DeHart said she acquired a warrant for Walker's arrest in August 2015 but that it took weeks and assistance from the U.S. Marshals Service and a number of other state law enforcement agencies to find and arrest him.
DeHart and several other members of MCSO testified that Walker fled when the department initially responded to a call Aug. 6, 2015, regarding the alleged sexual abuse. DeHart said she and other officers went to property on Arkansas Highway 267 in Doddridge where the alleged victim and various members of his family occupied two mobile homes.
Deputy U.S. Marshal Matthew Bremer testified that his agency worked with local and state police in Dallas and in Oklahoma in the costly search for Walker that included the use of police helicopters and canines. DeHart testified she was told Walker threatened to shoot police to avoid capture and that he had threatened family members to keep his location a secret. DeHart said Walker was apprehended Sept. 15, 2015, in Oklahoma, under questioning from Robertson. Under questioning from Anderson, DeHart said Walker was not in possession of a firearm at the time of his arrest.
The state rested its case Tuesday afternoon. Outside the jury's presence, Anderson questioned Walker on the record about his decision to reject a plea offer of 25 years on a charge of rape and an offer of six years for sexual indecency to run concurrently.
Anderson called the teen's mother to testify for the defense. The mother testified that she doesn't believe her son is telling the truth. The mother is expected to return to the stand Wednesday morning for additional questioning by Anderson followed by a cross examination by Robertson. Witness testimony is expected to conclude Wednesday.
Once both sides have closed, the jury will receive instructions on the law they must follow from Circuit Judge Carlton Jones before hearing closing arguments. A verdict in the case could come today. Walker faces 25 to 40 years or life if convicted of rape. If found guilty of sexual indecency, Walker faces up to six years and a fine up to $10,000.
Cases involving two female relatives of Walker's are pending as well and have been set for a pretrial hearing by Jones next month. Michael Walker's wife, Sarah Walker, pleaded guilty last year to sexually abusing the teen when he was 10 and 13. She was sentenced to seven years of probation and must register as a sex offender.