0

Convicted shooter to be sentenced Friday

Gregory Malik Walker Jr. testifies from his wheelchair that he shot barber Roger Clark in self-defense but the jury didn’t believe him. He is to be sentenced Friday on murder charges. (Staff Photo: Kathy Jefcoats)

Gregory Malik Walker Jr. testifies from his wheelchair that he shot barber Roger Clark in self-defense but the jury didn’t believe him. He is to be sentenced Friday on murder charges. (Staff Photo: Kathy Jefcoats)

JONESBORO — A man convicted of shooting to death a popular Jonesboro barber is expected to be sentenced Friday morning.

Gregory Malik Walker Jr., 41, was convicted July 3 on all charges related to the June 5, 2013, shooting death of Roger “Red” Clark, 28. Walker claimed self-defense against the younger, taller Clark but admitted under cross-examination he intentionally shot the unarmed man.

The shooting was captured on store surveillance cameras at Citgo on Upper Riverdale Road near where Clark worked as a barber. Walker fired four shots, hitting Clark three times. A fourth wound on Clark’s leg was suspected but not proven to be a graze injury.

Walker faces a mandatory minimum sentence of life in prison with the possibility of parole and a maximum of life without parole plus added years for other charges. He will be sentenced by Clayton County Superior Court Chief Judge Deborah Benefield.

Jurors did not believe Walker’s testimony that he shot Clark in self-defense. Clayton County Senior Assistant District Attorney Jeff Gore said at the time the verdict was reached that Walker sealed his fate through his own words.

“I think the jury saw through his lies,” said Gore July 3. “He was very evasive on the stand. His testimony hurt more than it helped and I’m sure it contributed to the fast verdict.”

Walker was brought into the courtroom during his trial daily from the jail by wheelchair. His defense attorney, Ted Johnson, told jurors that Walker suffered from Crohn’s disease. Walker testified that he had taken pain pills the day of the shooting but that it didn’t impact his behavior or memory.

Clayton County Assistant District Attorney John Fowler cross-examined Walker, making him respond to every move he made during his encounter with Clark. It was then that his lies were exposed, said Gore.

“John did an outstanding job on cross,” he said.

Fowler got Walker to admit he intentionally shot a man he knew was unarmed. The admission drew gasps from Clark’s family.

“He had not produced a gun? A knife? No type of weapon?” Fowler said, to which Walker agreed. “You intentionally shot an unarmed Roger Clark, didn’t you?”

Walker let out a sigh and was quiet.

“Hesitantly, I shot him, yes,” he said.

“You intentionally pulled the trigger, knowing he was in front of you, correct?” said Fowler.

“Yes,” Walker said. “I fired the weapon maybe three times.”

The two men were acquaintances. Walker used to get his hair cut at the barber shop where Clark worked in an Arrowhead Boulevard strip mall next door to the Citgo. Walker agreed to buy an SUV owned by Clark’s wife, Taniesja Clark, and drew up a bill of sale, according to testimony.

The relationship soured when Walker failed to live up to his end of the bargain by paying the $3,000 even after the Clarks transferred ownership to him. Instead, he got a temporary protection order to keep the couple — who had contacted him for the money he owed — away from him.

Earlier the day of the shooting, the two men were in Clayton County Magistrate Court where Walker was denied a permanent order of protection from the Clarks. Evidence showed Walker drove to the Citgo about an hour later and taunted Clark, drawing him to the gas pumps where he was standing near the SUV he still hasn’t paid for.