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US Army medic's court-martial trial to begin in Hawaii

By WILLIAM COLE | The Honolulu Star-Advertiser | Published: July 30, 2016

HONOLULU (Tribune News Service) — An Army medic facing a murder charge in civilian court for the stabbing death of his wife is scheduled to go to court-martial trial today on child pornography and prostitution charges.

Sgt. Michael Walker, who was assigned to Tripler Army Medical Center, elected to be tried by a military judge at Wheeler Army Airfield’s courtroom, the Army said.

Walker previously pleaded not guilty to a murder charge in civilian court in the killing of Catherine Walker, 38, who was found stabbed to death in November 2014 in their Aliamanu Military Reservation home.

A federal grand jury indicted Michael Walker in November on charges of aiding and abetting and conspiring to commit first-degree murder in connection with the fatal stabbing. He was 36 at the time.

In December, Ailsa Jackson, who was having an affair with Walker, said in a Honolulu federal courtroom as part of a plea agreement that she stabbed Catherine Walker.

The 24-year-old said she and Michael Walker discussed making the death look like a burglary. A prosecutor said Jackson met the soldier through an online dating site and that he told her his “deepest desire” was to have his wife gone. Jackson stabbed Catherine Walker multiple times with a kitchen knife as she slept, the prosecution said.

Jackson and Michael Walker had discussed carrying out the killing while he was at work, the prosecution said.

Walker’s attorney on the murder charge, Birney Bervar, said his client didn’t want his wife dead and that he’s innocent of the charge. Jackson had said in court that she was taking medication for psychosis.

“The crazy gal that he was seeing for a purely sexual affair, if you will, killed her,” Bervar said. “She pled guilty to it, and she’s got some serious psychological mental issues.”

The child pornography and prostitution accusations arose during the investigation of the killing.

“He (Walker) was hooking up for sex with people on the internet, Craigslist, women and men,” Bervar said. “Some of the men, he charged them some money — 50, 100 bucks.”

Bervar said Walker “was definitely out there having affairs, not really emotionally, but just pure sexual affairs with both men and women. … He admitted that all along.”

In the course of the investigation, some images of child pornography were found on his laptop computer, “and he denies that (charge),” Bervar said.

“He’s (slated) to go to trial on that,” Bervar said. “He denies that. He claims that, ‘Look, I was over in Iraq, and we were swapping out hard drives and everything — I don’t know what got on my computer, but I didn’t know about it.’”

Walker has military lawyers on the court-martial charges. Tripler put out media “ground rules” for covering the trial, stating that no on-camera or audio interviews are planned with attorneys for the prosecution or defense, and that media questions would be answered within 48 to 72 hours by email only.

Tripler declined to provide the standard charge sheet on the court-martial charges, and said a federal Freedom of Information Act request would have to be filed to obtain it.

The Army medic is being held in the federal detention center, Bervar said. A trial on the murder charge is scheduled for early January.

“He’s in jail, but I mean, he’s doing all right under the circumstances,” Bervar said. The soldier is “very emotional” about his wife being murdered, “and even worse now that he’s being accused of it.”

Adding further legal complication to the case, U.S. District Judge Susan Oki Mollway in March said that she was not ready to accept Jackson’s plea until she knows what is revealed at Walker’s murder trial.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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©2016 The Honolulu Star-Advertiser

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