Ex-teacher loses his bid for new trial

Photo by Gretel Daugherty—Dianna Shirley of Grand Junction pushes herself for the last few steps as she runs over the finish line of the Turkey Trot 5K race Thursday. More than 600 runners and walkers participated in the 3.2-mile race along Dike Road and back along the Riverfront Trail in the frosty air to raise money for the Grand Junction Fire Department Local 2808’s fund for injured firefighters.

A photo montage that was allowed as evidence in the trial of a longtime Grand Junction High School administrator won’t force a new trial.

District Judge Thomas Deister, in an order issued Nov. 17, denied a motion seeking a new trial by an attorney representing former Grand Junction High Activities Director Johnnie Walker.

Walker on Sept. 25 was found guilty of attempted Internet luring of a child and attempted child enticement. The jury made an independent finding that Walker had chatted online for the specific purpose of sexual contact with a child.

Colleen Scissors, Walker’s attorney, had argued that Deister erred in allowing the jury to see a “highly prejudicial” collection of photos that were discovered by a Grand Junction police detective on a school computer that Walker used.

The collage showed individual photos of several young girls, some of them posed in a sexually suggestive manner, and included a photo of Walker himself.

Scissors had claimed Walker didn’t create the document, suggesting it was the product of a computer program, among other arguments. The judge, however, noted Scissors didn’t object when the montage came into evidence during Walker’s trial.

“Further, there was absolutely no evidence that someone other than the defendant had ever operated the computer on which the montage was found,” Deister wrote.

The computer was the same equipment that Walker had used in March 2007 to exchange sexually explicit Internet chat with a Texas man, who was posing online as a 14-year-old girl from Colorado Springs.

Walker, 51, faces a possible life sentence of probation, or a prison term, during a sentencing hearing Dec. 7.


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