John Arlin Walters, 64, of Pickton was brought back to Hopkins County this week to begin the process of preparing for a new trial in the January 2004 shooting death of his brother.
Walters was convicted in October 2004 of murdering his brother, Russell Lowell Walters Jr., who was shot twice in the Tabernacle Baptist Church parking lot in Pickton on Jan. 16, 2004. The fatal shooting stemmed from long-running disagreements involving family matters.
Jurors took about three hours of deliberations following four days of testimony to convict Walters, then sentenced him to serve 32 years in prison.
John Walters’ attorneys have twice appealed the conviction. In November of 2006, the Sixth Appellate District Court of Appeal reversed the murder conviction, ruling the trial court gave improper instructions to the jury about Walters’ contentions of self-defense at the guilt/innocence phase of the trial. The reversal sent the case back to Hopkins County to be retried.
But the Attorney General’s State Prosecutors’ Attorneys Office, which handles almost all federal and capitol appellate litigation in the state, filed a motion with the Criminal Court of Appeals and succeeded in getting the appellate court’s ruling overturned.
Walters’ attorneys have since filed a second successful appeal. Hopkins County District Attorney Martin Braddy said he has decided to retry the murder case in the Eighth Judicial District Court.
Walters was transported back to Hopkins County jail Tuesday evening. Braddy said he does not expect the preparation process or trial to last as long as the original, which went to court almost nine months after the shooting.
Braddy said Walters’ murder trial could begin as early as April.
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