Source: DA’s office
District Attorney Billy Joe Harrington announced Thursday, April 8, the jury trial conviction of Ervin Walker of Natchitoches. Walker was convicted by a unanimous jury of illegal use of a weapon in the 10th Judicial District Court with Judge Lala Sylvester presiding.
The trial marks the return of criminal jury trials after several months of suspension of court operations related to the pandemic as ordered by the La. Supreme Court in January. Walker was previously convicted in 2018 by a non-unanimous jury, who voted 10-2 to convict, however, the case was re-tried after the Supreme Court ruling, Ramos v. Louisiana reversed a non-unanimous jury conviction in Louisiana.
Also, voters amended the state constitution in 2018 to require unanimous jury convictions. Accordingly, state appellate courts have remanded non-unanimous conviction cases for re-trial if the case has not exhausted all appeals.
Walker’s 2018 conviction was in the appeal process and was therefore afforded a new trial.
“We have a duty to seek fair justice for the victims, and for the citizens of the parish, by re-trying this case that was previously remanded due to the unanimous jury Supreme Court ruling,” Harrington said.
After the guilty verdict, Judge Sylvester sentenced Walker to the maximum of two years incarceration at hard labor, with credit for time served.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant DAs Shantel Wempren and Chris Guillet.