A Carter County jury watched a tape Thursday afternoon in which Skyler Walker talked about stabbing Peyton Lockwood during the early morning of July 29 at a northeast side apartment complex.
“If he really, truly wanted to die, I was here to make him happy,” Walker told Detective John Johnson, Ardmore Police Department Criminal Investigation Division. “He made his choice … I made sure I’m alive … I’m not breaking any laws. I think I should be free to go.”
The tape was the interview conducted with Walker about 12 hours after he was detained in the death of the 19-year-old Ardmore man. During the interview Walker also described the altercation that led to Lockwood’s death claiming the victim was on his back and had him in a choke hold. However, he told and then demonstrated — as Johnson and Sgt. Brice Woolly watched — how he said he managed to unsheathe a knife strapped to his back and pivot toward Lockwood, stabbing him in the chest.
His description of the life and death battle was the reversal of what his friend Tyler Harper had told the jury earlier in the trial.
Harper, who identified himself as Walker’s friend and roommate, told several versions of the events that took place inside their apartment. But the one thing that remained consistent throughout his convoluted testimony was that Walker had the upper hand. It was Walker, Harper said, who was riding the victim’s back and had him in a choke hold. In Parker’s version of the fist fight that turned deadly, Lockwood had made several threats against his friend and Walker only grabbed the knife in order to intimidate his opponent.
“Luke didn’t want to fight, but it was either kill or be killed,” Parker testified.
Rachel Forson, also took the stand. She identified herself as Lockwood’s girlfriend, but admitted that during the evening they had “broken up” and she had turned at least part of her attentions to Walker. She told the jury she was intoxicated and was in the bathroom when the fight broke out.
“I came out, Luke was on Peyton’s back,” said, countering other testimony that she had “wiggled” the knife that was embedded in the victim’s chest before help arrived.
In her opening statements to the jury, First Assistant District Attorney Heather Cooper had called the evening as one of “very poor decisions,” adding “none of the witnesses are what the state considers ideal.”
Defense attorney James Gilmartin told the jury the victim was the aggressor. He suggested his client took “three blows” before he engaged in the fight and only drew his knife in an effort to deflate the accelerating violence. However, the defense called no witnesses to the stand.
The jury is expected to hear closing arguments this morning and begin deliberating a verdict.