South Carolina high court overturns Aiken conviction

 

 

COLUMBIA — A man whose criminal sexual conduct conviction was reversed last week is heading to Aiken County.

Joseph Walker was convicted of kidnapping and criminal sexual conduct in 2002. Last week, the South Carolina Supreme Court agreed with 2nd Judicial Circuit Judge Doyet “Jack” Early, who had awarded post-conviction relief to Walker in 2012. Justices also granted Walker a new trial.

A jury found Walker guilty of assaulting a woman whose car broke down in Denmark, S.C., in 2002. He had been sentenced to 24 years in prison on each charge, to be served concurrently.

The high court faulted Walker’s legal counsel, saying it failed to investigate Walker’s girlfriend, who might have provided an alibi for him.

“Mr. Walker will be transferred from the S.C. Department of Cor­rections to the Aiken County jail, where he will be entitled to a bond, pending the new trial,” said attorney Kathrine Haggard Hudgins, an appellate defender for the state Commission on Indigent Defense.

The victim stopped at a gas station in Denmark but couldn’t leave because her car wouldn’t start. A man offered to help her, but when she didn’t have cash to pay him, she asked him to follow her home. She said he then blindfolded her and drove her to his home, where he sexually assaulted her.

The next morning, he blindfolded her again and drove her back to her home, she said.

The victim identified her attacker from video surveillance tape from the gas station, and an employee identified the assailant as Walker.

Walker admitted going to the gas station that day but denied helping anyone fix a car. He said he spent the afternoon and evening at a friend’s home, then returned to his girlfriend’s home for the night.

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Sun, 12/10/2017 - 19:42

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