The U.S. Supreme Court will not hear Pierce County’s appeal in the murder case against Odies Walker, whose conviction in the death of armored-car guard Kurt Husted was overturned at the state level because of “serious misconduct” by deputy prosecutors.
The county’s petition for review was one of scores rejected June 15 by the nation’s high court, which issued its decision without comment.
The Supreme Court’s decision means the reversal of Walker’s conviction stands for now.
The Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office released a statement about the decision Wednesday.
“While our appellate division believes this case presented a compelling issue of limitations on technology in criminal cases, the United States Supreme Court accepts very few cases for review,” it read.
Prosecutor Mark Lindquist told The News Tribune that Walker would be re-tried as soon as possible. He’s scheduled to go to trial in October.
“I’m confident there will be justice for Kurt Husted, his family and the community,” Lindquist said.
Husted was killed in 2009 during a robbery at the Lakewood Walmart. Deputy prosecutors Dawn Farina and Jerry Costello alleged Walker masterminded the robbery.
A jury convicted Walker in 2011 of aggravated first-degree murder, and he was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Earlier this year, the Washington State Supreme Court reversed the conviction.
A majority of the state’s high court agreed that Farina went over the line during her closing argument by repeatedly expressing her personal opinion of Walker’s guilt and improperly injecting race into the trial, whether intentionally or not, in a case in which race was not a factor.
The state Supreme Court specifically mentioned Farina’s PowerPoint presentation to the jury, in which more than 100 of the 250 slides were headed with the words,” DEFENDANT WALKER GUILTY OF PREMEDITATED MURDER.”
The state’s high court also took Farina to task for showing the jury three quotations allegedly made by Walker in which he used the N-word. One quote was printed on a slide that showed Walker and his family, all African-Americans, at the dinner table some time after Husted’s death.
Justice Mary Yu characterized Farina’s actions as “serious misconduct” in the state court’s majority opinion in the case.
Lindquist, Farina and county appellate chief Kit Proctor argued that the state Supreme Court got it wrong.
Lindquist’s office stated in a brief sent to the U.S. Supreme Court that Yu’s decision was not supported by fact or law and unnecessarily constrained prosecutors during their closing arguments.