District Judge Dennis Morris wasn’t swayed Wednesday afternoon when Skyler “Luke” Walker’s attorney, James Gilmartin, asked him to disregard the 17-year sentence a jury delivered against his client along with their conviction a month ago.
Gilmartin asked the judge to allow Walker to serve a portion of his sentence on probation. But the appeal was a no go. Morris ordered the 21-year-old into the custody of the Department of Corrections for the full sentence recommendation. The seven-women and five-men jury deliberated just two hours May 12 before returning a guilty verdict and the sentence recommendation in the case charging Walker with first degree manslaughter. The judge confirmed Walker would have credit for time served. Walker has been detained in the Carter County Detention Center since July 29 when he stabbed Peyton Lockwood to death at a northeast side apartment complex.
First Assistant District Attorney Heather Cooper prosecuted the case against Walker. In her closing argument she had told jurors, “What happened was a tragedy but it was also a crime.” Reviewing evidence the state had presented, Cooper also encouraged jurors, “ … don’t take my word for it. Remember what he told police. He’s guilty. Remember how he told police he believes he’s above the law … that he would do it all over again.”
Wednesday Cooper again represented the state at the sentencing hearing. Following Morris’ sentencing, she reiterated much of what she said at the time Walker was convicted. Talking about the 19-year-old victim and his family she said, “Although there is nothing that can be done to fill the void that his death left in their lives, seeing the man who caused his death be held responsible was vital.”
Cooper also lauded the Ardmore Police Department’s efforts describing the investigation as “professional and efficient,” from the moment the 911 call was answered through courtroom testimony.
Cooper and District Attorney Craig Ladd also commended the jury for what was called “diligent service” and a verdict and recommended sentence “supported by the law and the evidence.”
Walker who showed no remorse during the trial or at the sentencing displayed a brief moment of emotion as he was removed from the courtroom and returned to the CCDC to await transfer to a state prison.