December 3 Execution Date for Charles Walker: Victim's Body Never Found, No Physical Evidence

For Immediate Release November 22, 2004 For more information contact Attorney Jonathan Megerian, 336-953-8686


RALEIGH, NC – Lawyers for Charles Walker, who is scheduled to be executed December 3, were joined today by three law professors and advisors to the NC Center on Actual Innocence to call on Governor Mike Easley to grant clemency in a case in which the victim's body was never recovered and there was no physical evidence linking Walker to the crime.  Walker was sentenced to death in Greensboro for the 1992 death of Tito Davidson.

"If Walker's execution is carried out, it would be the first case in North Carolina in which the victim's body was never found," said law professor James Coleman. "That means there is no way to be sure how and by whom this killing was committed.  Surely we don't want to send someone to their death under these circumstances."

Walker was convicted on the inconsistent testimony of five witnesses.  Three pled to lesser charges and two were implicated but never prosecuted.  One of those witnesses admitted to shooting the victim and served only six years in prison.

Despite finding that Walker did not kill anyone, the jury recommended a sentence of death.  Jurors deliberated for two days on guilt or innocence and four days on deciding between a life sentence and the death penalty.

"The jury relied on what they had in front of them, and unfortunately that evidence was unreliable and incomplete," said Walker's current attorney Jonathan Megerian.  "My client has consistently maintained his innocence and although the courts have not been responsive so far, we hope the Governor understands the unacceptable risk we face of executing an innocent man."

The State offered Walker a second-degree plea before his trial; he could have denied guilt and avoided the possibility of the death penalty.  Insisting on his innocence, Walker rejected the plea offer.

"In most, if not all, of the 34 executions carried out since 1977, North Carolinians have had strong assurances - confessions, physical evidence, testimony of disinterested witnesses and eyewitnesses - that the inmate was guilty," said law professor Marshall Dayan.  "In this case, there is no such assurance."