The docket in his federal court case indicates that he changed his plea to guilty today, Oct. 7, 2014.
Minute Entry for proceedings held before Honorable David C. Bramlette, III:Change of Plea Hearing as to Joe Dale Walker held on 10/7/2014. Appearances: Mike Hurst, AUSA; Bill Kirksey, counsel for Defendant; and Jamie Harrell, USPO. Plea entered by Joe Dale Walker (1) Guilty Count 1. (Sentencing set for 1/8/2015 01:30 PM in Courtroom 6B (Jackson) Bramlette/Visiting before Honorable David C. Bramlette III). The Defendant was allowed to remain free on his current bond. Court Reporter/Transcriber Brenda Wolverton, Telephone Number : 601-608-4188. (Lewis, Nijah) (Entered: 10/07/2014)
As the order indicates, sentencing is set for January 8, 2014.
Here’s WJTV’s report. To summarize: The charges stem from a conservatorship for a disabled woman, Victoria Newsome. The lawyer for the conservatorship sought bids for building the woman a house. There were five bids, the lowest was from Walker’s nephew Chad Teator. When Walker saw that Teator’s bid was much lower than the others, he told Teator to raise his bid so that it was the lowest but higher than Teator’s original bid. “Due to his nephew’s involvement as a bidder for the Newsome house, Walker transferred the case to another Chancellor for the limited purpose of accepting and approving bids for the construction of the Newsome home. After signing an order awarding the contract to Teater, the case was transferred back to Walker.”
In August 2013, a federal grand jury subpoena was served upon a witness to appear and bring all documents relating to the Conservatorship. Walker met with the witness and discussed the bidding process. When later interviewed by the FBI, Walker denied ever talking with the witness about the bids and “denied ever telling the witness that Teater’s original bid needed to be “somewhere else” in response to the Federal Grand Jury subpoena.” Walker was charged via a criminal information to telling a witness to destroy documents and lying to federal agents.
And here’s the Magee Courier on the guilty plea.
Newsome suffered from injuries during medical treatment and received a $3 million cash settlement. Approximately $1.2 million of that went to attorneys’ fees. Records indicate there is approximately only $200,000 left for Newsome’s future care.