The lawyer for Army medic Michael Walker says the government will not seek the death penalty for Sgt. Walker if he is found guilty of planning and assisting in his wife’s murder.
Defense lawyer Birney Bervar said Thursday that if Walker is found guilty, his sentence will be life in prison.
The government has already informed the court that it is not seeking the death penalty for Walker’s co-defendant Ailsa Jackson.
A federal grand jury returned an indictment Wednesday charging Walker, 36, with aiding, abetting and conspiring to commit first-degree murder in connection with last year’s fatal stabbing of his wife in the couple’s home on Aliamanu Military Reservation.
Walker pleaded not guilty at his arraignment on the charges in U.S. District Court Thursday.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Richard L. Puglisi ordered Walker to stand trial Dec. 9 with Jackson, who was indicted in April.
“It’s always suspicious when a defendant implicates somebody else in return for a reduced sentence,” Bervar said.
Jackson, who has pleaded not guilty, has no plea agreement in connection with the case.
Another judge had scheduled her trial before Walker was indicted.
Jackson’s lawyer, who attended Walker’s arraignment, said the trial will be pushed back to a later date.
Puglisi also ordered Walker to remain in custody until a hearing on Monday on the government’s request to have him remain in custody until trial.
The Army said the body of 38-year-old Catherine Walker was found in her military family quarters on Morishige Lane on Nov. 15.
The Honolulu Medical Examiner says Walker died from stab wounds to her neck and torso.
According to Wednesday’s indictment Michael Walker helped plan and assisted Jackson, with whom he had a romantic relationship, commit the murder while he was at work at Tripler Army Medical Center. Jackson, 24, lived with her parents in the same Aliamanu Crater military housing complex as the Walkers at the time of the murder.