By CHRIS MENEES
Special to the Press
A Weakley County man charged in the brutal stabbing of a Union City woman was sentenced to 12 years in prison after pleading to a lesser charge Friday in Obion County Circuit Court.
Willie James Walker III, 26, of Greenfield entered a best interest plea to a charge of criminal attempt to commit second-degree murder — a lesser charge than the attempted first-degree murder he originally faced.
He was charged in connection with the Oct. 11, 2012, attack of 27-year-old Christina Marie Jimerson at her former home at 611 North Division St. in Union City.
Walker, who wore jail-issue black and white striped clothing, stood quietly before Circuit Judge Bill Acree and entered the plea during an appearance that lasted just under six minutes late Friday morning.
The court appearance was scheduled as a report date to give the status of his case, but it was announced that Walker wanted to enter a best interest plea to the lesser charge of attempted second-degree murder.
Assistant District Attorney Jim Cannon said upon Walker’s plea to the felony offense, the state recommended a Range I Standard sentence of 12 years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. He briefly recounted the details of the case against Walker, explaining he was accused of stabbing Miss Jimerson a number times after a sexual encounter between the two.
“No motive, no real reason for it,” Cannon said.
The court accepted Walker’s plea and sentenced him to the recommended 12 years as a Range I offender. Walker’s attorney, public defender Bill Randolph, asked for the judgment to reflect that Walker is in need of counseling.
With a best interest plea, a defendant does not admit guilt but agrees that a guilty plea is in the best interest under the circumstances.
As a result of the plea entered Friday, other lesser counts included in the indictment against Walker were dismissed.
Walker had been indicted by the Obion County grand jury in early February for attempt to commit first-degree murder (two counts), aggravated assault (two counts) and especially aggravated robbery as a result of Miss Jimerson’s attack six months ago.
Miss Jimerson sustained some 60 stab wounds and was airlifted to Regional Medical Center (the Med) in Memphis for treatment.
Union City police responded to Miss Jimerson’s North Division Street home about 8:45 p.m. Oct. 11, 2012, in response to a 911 call from a neighbor who heard screaming coming from the residence. Police reported the seriously injured Miss Jimerson was able to bang on a window, which broke, in order to be heard by a neighbor.
When police arrived, they could hear a woman screaming that she had been stabbed. Officers forced their way into the home, where they found Miss Jimerson bleeding from apparent stab wounds, according to police reports.
Neighbors told police they saw an unidentified man run from the apartment before officers arrived. They reportedly saw the man get into Miss Jimerson’s silver 1997 Toyota and leave the scene. Police alerted surrounding law enforcement agencies to be on the lookout for the vehicle, which was recovered early Oct. 12 in Greenfield in Weakley County.
Walker was taken into custody later in the day Oct. 12 in Weakley County on warrants against him there for unrelated charges of domestic violence and failure to appear. He was held there on those charges until a court appearance Oct. 24, after which time Union City police were able to transport him back to Obion County to be served with warrants as a suspect in Miss Jimerson’s stabbing.
Published in The WCP 4.23.13