Gavel

Two methamphetamine distribution convictions and 99-year prison sentences a Parker County jury gave to a Springtown man in December, 2019 were upheld on appeal in a ruling rendered Thursday.

Donald Wayne Walker, 50, was convicted of delivering methamphetamine to an informant on two occasions. Audio and video recordings of the transactions were played for the jury during the trial.

“The biggest factors that led to Mr. Walker’s lengthy sentence were his extensive criminal record and the fact that these were drug dealing offenses,” said District Attorney Jeff Swain, who tried the case for the prosecution along with Assistant District Attorney Travis Warner. “He had eight prior felony convictions, 52 years of prior prison sentences, and was on parole for a 20 year sentence at the time of our trial. He had been on probation, to prison, through rehab, and had kids, any of which could have been a wakeup call to change his life. None of that worked for him.”

On appeal, Walker complained that his two drug offenses should not have been consolidated and tried together. He also argued that his lawyer was ineffective because he should have objected to the cases being joined for trial.

“Our appellate courts will usually reject appeals based on things that the trial lawyer did not complain about to the judge during the trial,” Swain said. “The idea is that the judge can’t fix a problem you don’t bring to his or her attention. Our law generally doesn’t allow a party to a case to hide a legal issue and then raise it on appeal and say ‘gotcha’.”

Regarding Walker’s complaint that his lawyer was ineffective during the trial, the Second Court of Appeals in Fort Worth reviewed the trial record and noted that, “Walker’s trial counsel vigorously cross-examined the State’s key witnesses and presented a coherent and reasonable defense.” They pointed out that there was no reasoning in the record for the attorney’s not objecting to the cases being consolidated for trial, but said that “he may have had a strategic reason not to do so because the sentences for the offenses tried jointly must run concurrently” instead of potentially consecutively, if tried separately.

“We’re thankful that the good work by our Parker County jurors as well as by the Parker County Sheriff’s investigator who worked on the case was upheld by our court of appeals,” Swain said.

District Judge Graham Quisenberry presided over the trial, which was in the 415th District Court.

“Mr. Walker will be eligible for parole when his actual time served plus his good time credit equals 15 years,” Swain said. “At that point, whether the prison system keeps him or releases him will be up to the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles.”

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