Originally created 12/31/98

Jury rejects indictment for manslaughter



A Richmond County grand jury chose not to indict an Augusta woman on a manslaughter charge this week.

The issuance of a "no bill" Tuesday means Lavaciette Walker no longer faces criminal prosecution in the stabbing death of 20-year-old Esabia Burley on April 16.

"I congratulate the grand jury," said Ms. Walker's attorney, Peter Johnson. "That was absolutely the right call."

Ms. Walker was arrested on murder and weapon charges, but those charges were reduced to misdemeanor manslaughter after a preliminary hearing in late April. The chief judge of the Richmond County State Court, where misdemeanor cases are handled, had Ms. Walker's case sent back to the district attorney's office for indictment or dismissal.

The district attorney's office Tuesday presented an indictment to the Richmond County grand jury that would have charged Ms. Walker with felony voluntary manslaughter. The jury rejected the indictment, however.

"It all started when she tried to do the right thing," Mr. Johnson said.

Ms. Walker, who lives in the 1900 block of Broad Street, had been working with sheriff's deputies to try to keep drug dealers off her block, Mr. Johnson said. One man took offense at Ms. Walker's insistence on April 16 that he couldn't stand near her home, Mr. Johnson said.

Ms. Burley and several other women confronted Ms. Walker and some of her friends that day, and an argument ensued. Mr. Johnson said Ms. Walker broke off the argument by walking into her home, but Ms. Burley followed her inside.

The two women struggled in the kitchen, and Ms. Walker's 3-year-old was cut on top of his head. That's when Ms. Walker picked up a knife and stabbed Ms. Burley, Mr. Johnson said.

District Attorney Danny Craig said the grand jury had the option of indicting Ms. Walker on felony charges of voluntary manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter or misdemeanor manslaughter.

Mr. Craig said he has no reason to question the grand jury's decision in Ms. Walker's case.

Sandy Hodson covers courts for The Augusta Chronicle. She may be reached at (706) 832-3226 or shodson@augustachronicle.com.

BYLINE1:By Sandy Hodson

BYLINE2:Staff Writer

A Richmond County grand jury chose not to indict an Augusta woman on a manslaughter charge this week.

The issuance of a "no bill" Tuesday means Lavaciette Walker no longer faces criminal prosecution in the stabbing death of 20-year-old Esabia Burley on April 16.

"I congratulate the grand jury," said Ms. Walker's attorney, Peter Johnson. "That was absolutely the right call."

Ms. Walker was arrested on murder and weapon charges, but those charges were reduced to misdemeanor manslaughter after a preliminary hearing in late April. The chief judge of the Richmond County State Court, where misdemeanor cases are handled, had Ms. Walker's case sent back to the district attorney's office for indictment or dismissal.

The district attorney's office Tuesday presented an indictment to the Richmond County grand jury that would have charged Ms. Walker with felony voluntary manslaughter. The jury rejected the indictment, however.

"It all started when she tried to do the right thing," Mr. Johnson said.

Ms. Walker, who lives in the 1900 block of Broad Street, had been working with sheriff's deputies to try to keep drug dealers off her block, Mr. Johnson said. One man took offense at Ms. Walker's insistence on April 16 that he couldn't stand near her home, Mr. Johnson said.

Ms. Burley and several other women confronted Ms. Walker and some of her friends that day, and an argument ensued. Mr. Johnson said Ms. Walker broke off the argument by walking into her home, but Ms. Burley followed her inside.

The two women struggled in the kitchen, and Ms. Walker's 3-year-old was cut on top of his head. That's when Ms. Walker picked up a knife and stabbed Ms. Burley, Mr. Johnson said.

District Attorney Danny Craig said the grand jury had the option of indicting Ms. Walker on felony charges of voluntary manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter or misdemeanor manslaughter.

Mr. Craig said he has no reason to question the grand jury's decision in Ms. Walker's case.

Sandy Hodson covers courts for The Augusta Chronicle. She may be reached at (706) 832-3226 or shodson@augustachronicle.com.