By JOEL PHELPS | The Arkadelphian
Victims spoke up in an emotional conclusion Thursday to an historic local case of rapes spanning more than two decades.
Convicted serial rapist Barry Alan Walker entered a Clark County courtroom Thursday looking a bit different than he did when he left Pike County, where he pleaded guilty Wednesday to raping several young girls at his Glenwood home. Walker, 58, stepped in front of Clark County Circuit Judge Blake Batson with a contusion covering a swath of his right cheek, that side of his face swollen from an apparent skirmish the night before in a Clark County jail cell.
As with the Pike County proceedings, victims of the Clark County cases and their relatives filled half the courtroom.
During the course of a two-hour court proceeding, Walker entered more than 75 pleas of guilt to charges of rape, computer exploitation of a child, directing or promoting sexual performance by a child, and engaging children in sexually explicit conduct for use in visual or print medium, among other charges.
He was given 21 life sentences plus countless years in prison without the possibility of parole. In Pike and Clark counties combined, Walker was convicted of 32 counts of rape. The rapes for which he was prosecuted in Clark County victimized 18 young girls at his Amity home. While several of the victims provided written statements, three of them addressed Walker personally during Thursday’s proceedings.
Walker stood at the podium with Arkadelphia attorney Clint Mathis at his side while his victims made their voice heard. The first victim, a woman of 20-something, was 5 years old when she first became one of Walker’s many victims. Sobbing as she read, she urged victims of rape to speak up and report the wrongdoing.
Another victim, a toddler when she was raped, told Walker she refused to be his victim any longer. “I’m here to say I’m not a victim,” said the girl, now 13. “I’m a survivor of rape from Barry Walker.”
A third victim who spoke in court was about 7 when she was raped. Now 24, she said there is “one less monster in this world … It is your time to suffer. Karma will get you.”
Walker’s Wednesday night skirmish is likely the beginning of that karma. Sheriff Jason Watson, who delivered him to the local jail facility, said two inmates were determined enough to hurt Walker that they made entry into the lockdown cell where Walker was being kept. Watson said a “brief” struggle took place before jailers stepped in. The sheriff said he personally had Walker examined medically and determined he was OK. Walker was then returned to a different lockdown cell. He was taken to a jail in a neighboring county following Thursday’s appearance.
In total, Walker was given 39 life sentences without the possibility of parole. There is the possibility that he will face even more rape charges in Garland County. Locally, prosecutors are glad to put this case behind. Clark County Prosecutor Dan Turner told reporters afterward that he was “satisfied” with the judicial outcome. The scope of the case, he added, has been “breathtaking” for everyone involved, namely the victims and their families.
“The path of destruction paved by Barry Walker over the last 25 years has devastated countless victims and families, and perhaps many others that we may not be aware of” Turner announced in a statement following the case. “It is my prayer that these victims can begin to heal and move past these horrible events.”
Turner said his office will continue assisting victims and encourages anyone with information or needs related to the cases to contact his office or appropriate law enforcement agencies.
If there’s one takeaway from the Walker case, Turner said, it’s that victims should not hold back. “I hope victims will tell their story” whether it’s to a parent, teacher, pastor, friend or relative. “Tell someone.”