Prosecutors told jurors in the 354th District Court Monday that Adam Kelly Ward gunned down Commerce Code Enforcement Officer Michael “Pee Wee” Walker in cold blood two years ago.
“He shot him again, and again, and again,” said District Attorney F. Duncan Thomas. “Adam Ward did not stop shooting until the clip was empty.”
Ward’s lead defense counsel, Dennis Davis, said Ward was the product of a “severely disfunctional family” and claimed he was only playing a role in an ongoing conflict between his father and the Commerce city government.
“Adam Ward, through his father Ralph Ward, had been at war with the City of Commerce since before he was born,” Davis told the jury during opening arguments in Ward’s capital murder trial. “On that fateful morning ... the first footsoldier of that war, Michael Walker, died.”
Meanwhile, Walker’s father, Dick Walker, recalled how while serving with the Commerce Emergency Corps he arrived on the scene to find his son near death.
“I dropped to my knees and I told him his dad was here and would take care of him,” the elder Walker said. “I told him I loved him and that he would be all right. He wasn’t.”
Ward, 24, is facing the potential of death by lethal injection, if he is convicted of capital murder. Ward remains in custody at the Hunt County Jail in lieu of $2 million bond. He has pleaded not guilty. The trial is expected to take about three weeks.
Walker was working as a code enforcement officer for the City of Commerce when shortly after 10 a.m. on June 13, 2005, he was taking photos of alleged code violations at the home where Ward lived on Caddo Street.
Thomas said Ward objected and the two argued, with Ward spraying Walker with a hose. Walker called 911 on his cell phone while Ward allegedly ran into the house, grabbed a .45 caliber pistol and two loaded clips. Thomas said Ward returned to the scene and began chasing Walker, shooting him as many as eight times as they ran. Thomas said Ward was attempting to reload the gun before Ralph Ward took the weapon away.
“Michael ‘Pee Wee’ Walker was brutally murdered, execution-style, simply because he was doing his job,” Thomas said.
Davis characterized the Ward household as one in which the family believed that the City of Commerce, the Commerce Independent School District and the Commerce Police Department were all conspiring against them, and that years of paranoia had reached a boiling point.
“What Michael Walker did not know is that he was walking into a war that day,” Davis said, noting that there had been several recommendations made to Ward’s parents that their son should receive treatment, advice which Davis said was ignored.
“But for the conspirators in his life, he’d be fine, says his dad and mom,” Davis said.
Dick Walker serves as the volunteer chief of the Commerce Emergency Corps and as an emergency medical technician. He said the initial call came in that a police officer had been shot and that he didn’t realize until his unit was enroute to the location that the city’s only code enforcement officer, his son, was the victim.
Walker said he arrived to see several police cars in the street.
“I started hollering out, ‘Is it my son? Is it my son?’, and no one would answer,” he said.
He and the other emergency personnel did their best, Walker said, but there was no chance.
“They were devastating wounds, devastating,” Walker said. “I knew I was going to lose my son when I first saw him.”
Prosecutors said there were several witnesses to the shooting. One of them, Joseph Hamilton, also testified Monday. Hamilton said he was setting up a metal building down the street from the scene when he began hearing gunshots. He said he watched Walker being chased by Ward, with Walker first trying to get into his truck and drive away, and then getting out of the vehicle.
“He just kept getting shot until he finally died there on the sidewalk,” Hamilton said.http://www.commercejournal.com/local/local_story_163123234.html