POST UPDATED to correct Pike County Circuit Judge’s Name. We regret the error.
By JOEL PHELPS | The Arkadelphian
MURFREESBORO — Barry Alan Walker stood next to his attorney for nearly two hours Wednesday in a Pike County courtroom as charges and sentences were handed down by a judge. Walker, 58, is guilty there of raping 12 young girls there over the span of more than two decades.
The former Glenwood doctor was given 18 life sentences without the possibility of parole. His victims — many of them little girls — and their families, about 30 people altogether, filled half the circuit courtroom as Walker took the stand alongside Texarkana attorney Derric McFarland.
One by one, Clark County Prosecutor Dan Turner read off information from a total of 13 case files as the judge reviewed a “stack” of plea statements initialed by Walker. Walker had little to say when prompted to, only signifying in three-word sentences that he understood the charges and their penalties. “Yes, your honor” or “Yes, I do,” he said to each question regarding his guilt.
Walker’s victims ranged in age from 2 years old to 14. He had a previous conviction in Sebastian County for sexual misconduct with a minor, an offense for which he was ultimately released on parole yet continued raping girls and recording the acts. Following a child abuse hotline tip and subsequent investigation, a raid of his Glenwood home earlier this year revealed 3 grams of cocaine, firearms and “thousands” of child pornography videos in various formats, including VHS.
Also present in the courtroom were Pike County Sheriff Travis Hill and Clark County Sheriff Jason Watson, each of whom played significant roles in the investigation.
The rapes occurred over a span of 23 years, with known locations in Glenwood and Amity. It was noted in Wednesday’s court proceedings that Walker often used melatonin to put his victims to sleep.
Turner asked for the maximum sentence on each charge, and received it as part of the plea settlement. Turner read victim impact statements for several of the victims and appeared to become emotional as he read the first, written in the handwriting of the girl who was 4 at the time Walker first raped her: “God would never appreciate what you did,” he read, continuing with details about Walker hitting the girl’s sister. “I just want you to know that you deserve what you are going through right now. I hope you rot in hell.”
Walker entered more than 40 guilty pleas as information from each case was presented. The courtroom thinned out as the afternoon’s proceedings continued, each victim and their family leaving once their case was heard.
“What made you want to do this to poor innocent girls?” wrote another victim who was 9 when the first encounter happened. “You ruined my life … You have made me and my family’s life miserable, and we will never forgive you for what you did. You’re the most disgusting man I’ve ever met. I hope you rot in Hell.”
Another victim was 5 when she was first raped. She wrote that she has often struggled with who was at fault, and that her mother struggles with guilt. “But I know that it isn’t [our fault,” the victim wrote. “What happened is disgusting and you are disgusting.” She noted she didn’t tell anyone about the rapes because her friend was there and didn’t want to leave her. “You are disgusting and mean. … We trusted you, and you deceived us.”
As the proceedings continued, Turner was handed a handwritten note from a victim in the spectator’s area. The 11-year-old wrote: “… “For your information, you did not ruin my life. I’m doing good in school, and you are so nasty. I hope you rot in Hell.”
Another victim, aged 12 at the time of her rape, said she at first stood up for Walker when investigators showed up to talk to her. “This experience I’ve gone through will stick with me my entire life. Not a day goes by when I don’t think about you and what you’ve done to me. Seeing you here today has made me realize that you are just one man, one man that affected more than 30 girls’ lives just for his own pleasure. Some people are sick, but you are way more than that. You are pathetic.”
Some victims did not provide an impact statement.
As information was read in court, Walker appeared to disagree when one of the victims’ age was mentioned. The judge asked Turner to repeat the age. “Two,” Turner replied. Walker shook his head, quietly conferring with his attorney. Asked for his plea, Walker hesitated, eventually saying he was guilty as he shook his head and stared away from the judge. One victim wrote she has spent 25 years avoiding men because of her rape, which began when she was 5.
Once the proceedings were finished, Circuit Judge Bryan Chesshir delivered an unprepared statement to Walker. “You have sent a ripple through this community, and it appears in all the other communities you’ve ever lived in,” Chesshir said. Noting the courtroom was packed when he first entered. “Did you hear the noise after each case was read? Did you hear the sound of rustling? It was [the sound of] people picking themselves up and moving on with their lives. I hope and pray they are able to.”
“Every child got the full measure of justice they could have gotten,” Turner told reporters once court was recessed. Following the proceedings, Walker was escorted from the court building and transported to the Clark County Detention Center, where he awaits yet another round of pleas in front of Circuit Judge Blake Batson.
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