0

Morrow man admits child abuse, gets 40 years

A Morrow man has been sentenced to 40 years in prison, after admitting in Clayton County Superior Court he sexually molested or abused four siblings for at least three years.

Whitney Blake Walker, 46, will serve 30 years in prison, followed by 10 on probation, said District Attorney Tracy Graham Lawson. Walker was in court Monday for jury selection on 24 counts, including rape, aggravated child molestation, aggravated sodomy, sexual battery, cruelty to children and cruelty to animals.

Lawson said he tried to fire his public defender on the eve of the trial. Walker entered the courtroom Monday morning in a wheelchair, and told officials he was hearing voices. Judge Albert Collier told Walker he could accept the plea offer or go to trial.

When Walker was arrested, Lawson said she expected the case to go to trial, because she was unwilling to offer a sentence other than life in prison. However, Lawson said the deal dropping 21 counts and letting Walker plead guilty to two counts of child molestation and one of cruelty to children in the first degree was done to protect the victims.

"We did this to protect the kids from having to endure the trauma of testifying," said Lawson. "They were scared to death of him."

Lawson said she called the mother of the children about the agreement.

"She burst into tears, she was so relieved that the kids didn't have to testify," Lawson said. "She was also glad to hear he admitted to the crimes and was going to prison."

Lawson said if Walker had gotten a life sentence, he would have had to serve at least 30 years before being considered for parole. With a 30-year sentence, he will become eligible sooner, but Lawson said she will oppose parole.

Walker was arrested in March in connection with raping 9-year-old twin sisters for three years. When he was indicted several months later, more details about the abuse of the girls and their brothers were revealed. One of the counts accused Walker of touching the penis of a boy under 16. Another alleges Walker forced the same boy hold a cat while Walker strangled it.

The indictments accuse Walker of kicking and punching the same boy in the head and body. One count alleges that Walker forced the boy's brother to watch the abuse.

The grand jury also indicted Walker on several sexual assault charges, including rape, involving the twin sisters. The indictments allege that Walker forced the girls to engage in sex acts with him as a means to avoid punishment.

He has been held without bond in the Clayton County Jail awaiting disposition of his case.