Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Walker Slaying Trial Begins; Key Witness Lied, Defense Claims

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Walker Slaying Trial Begins; Key Witness Lied, Defense Claims

Article excerpt

Byline: Gordon Jackson, The Times-Union

WOODBINE -- Jurors were told Monday they will hear two vastly different reasons explaining why Gregory Walker Jr. was charged with the June 9, 2001, shooting death of Janeika Aleisa Murphy.

During his opening arguments in the death penalty case, prosecuting attorney George Turner Jr. told jurors Murphy was shot seven times by Walker, 26, and another suspect, Shedrick Tate, after she stole cash and drugs from them while they were staying in a Brunswick motel.

Murphy, who worked as a maid at the Howard Johnson's motel, used her universal room key to sneak into Walker's room while he and two other people slept and stole cash and a cigar box that contained cocaine and marijuana, Turner said.

"Walker and Tate concluded Janeika took the drugs and money," Turner told jurors.

Defense attorney Richard Allen, however, said a key witness in the prosecution's case lied to investigators to cover up her role in Murphy's death. The prosection's witness also implicated Walker because she was angry he was unfaithful to her during their relationship, Allen said.

He described the witness's plea bargain with prosecutors to avoid murder charges as the "deal of the century."

"The defendant is here, not because he killed Murphy, but because he had woman problems," Allen said. "She had good reason to do this at the time. He ran off with another woman."

Murphy's body was found by Camden County Sheriff's Office deputies on an isolated stretch of Refuge Road in North Camden County with two bullet wounds to one arm, one bullet wound in another arm and four more to her head, Turner said.

Turner said Murphy, who was a 23-year-old mother of three, knew Walker and Tate may have had drugs and money with them when she used her pass key to sneak into their room.

After they woke up and found the drugs and cash missing, Walker and Tate confronted people, including Murphy. The two men later concluded Murphy was the thief, Turner said. …

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