An inmate appealing his life sentence for killing a man on the banks of the Susquehanna River will not get a new trial, the Pennsylvania Superior Court ruled Monday.
Tyrick D. Walker, 34, had appealed his first-degree murder conviction, claiming his trial attorney should’ve called a specific witness to testify.
That witness, Walker argued, had valuable information about the 2011 killing of Mark McLaughlin at a makeshift homeless camp in West Hempfield Township.
Walker and McLaughlin lived at the camp with several other people. A local jury convicted Walker of beating and strangling McLaughin during an altercation.
The appeals court, in an opinion issued Monday, denied the appeal. The panel agreed with Lancaster County Judge Howard Knisely in finding Walker’s trial attorney didn’t err in not calling the witness, Jim Wollard.
At a prior hearing, Walker’s attorney testified that Wollard, if anything, would have hurt the defense strategy.
Wollard testified about gravel and sand that was inside McLaughlin’s mouth. That evidence, the attorney said, suggested that Walker pushed McLaughlin underwater and into the river bed.
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