Austin Lawyer Arrested in Murder-for-Hire Plot
Angela Morris, Texas Lawyer
September 21, 2015
A recent arrest warrant alleges that an Austin solo was selling heroin to a man and tried recruiting the man to commit a murder-for-hire, alleged an arrest warrant affidavit.
The lawyer, James N. Walker, was arrested and charged on Sept. 18 with solicitation of capital murder. He is being held in the Travis County Jail on a $100,000 bond, according to Travis County Sheriff’s Department inmate records. If Walker were convicted of solicitation of capital murder, a first-degree felony, he could face five to 99 years in prison, or life in prison, and up to a $10,000 fine.
The Austin Police Department received a call on Sept. 11 from a tipster, “Joshua,” who reported that he was solicited to kill someone, said the Sept. 21 affidavit for warrant of arrest and detention in Texas v. Walker, filed in Travis County District Court.
“Joshua stated … that he is a heroin user and that the person he buys heroin from is an attorney and the attorney was trying to get ‘Joshua’ to kill someone for him,” said the affidavit. Detectives met with Joshua, who said he buys heroin twice per day from “Skip.” He described Skip’s appearance and said he lived at a car dealership in North Austin. Joshua drew a map to Skip’s residence, and detectives deduced the address. Based on all of the information, the detectives identified the suspect as Walker, an attorney who is licensed to practice law in Texas, the affidavit said.
On Sept. 14, the APD Major Crimes Task Force started helping with the case. A detective met with Joshua on Sept. 15 and showed him a booking photo of Walker. Joshua positively identified the person as “Skip.” “‘Joshua’ stated that approximately two weeks ago, ‘Joshua’ was buying heroin from Walker and Walker asked ‘Joshua’ to kill someone for him. Walker asked ‘Joshua’ if he had a long rifle and told ‘Joshua’ that he wanted the intended victim dead because of a dispute. ‘Joshua’ was not able to positively identify the intended victim and only knew the intended victim was a white male that frequents a known bar in the Austin area,” the affidavit said.
On Sept. 17, an APD detective had Joshua do a “controlled narcotics buy” from Walker, under surveillance and recorded with audio and video. Joshua bought heroin from Walker. Later, an analysis of the substance tested positive for heroin with a weight of 0.85 grams. “Walker agreed to pay ‘Joshua’ $1,000 … to kill the intended victim. Walker told ‘Joshua’ that he would provide a photo and the address of the intended victim to ‘Joshua.’ Walker told ‘Joshua’ that he (Walker) would look for a gun to give to ‘Joshua’ to commit the murder of the intended victim. Walker told ‘Joshua’ … the first and last name of the intended victim, and spelled it,” said the affidavit.
The detective researched the intended victim’s name, and found his Texas driver license and social security number. The detective confirmed that the intended victim did frequent the Austin-area bar. Walker’s State Bar of Texas profile lists an address that matches the address in the warrant and affidavit. The profile said he was licensed in 1981 after he received his law degree in 1979 from St. Mary’s University School of Law. He has no public disciplinary history. The profile said that Walker practices in the areas of: business, technology, creditor-debtor, criminal, intellectual property, commercial litigation, personal injury litigation and more. Walker did not answer a phone call, and an automated message said that the mailbox would not accept new messages.
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