Mistrial declared for Columbus man accused of killing girlfriend

Mistrial declared for Columbus man accused of killing girlfriend

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - A Columbus murder trial was declared a mistrial late Thursday afternoon after the prosecution accidentally played evidence that the judge says jeopardized the suspect's chance at a fair trial.

A video of the interview police did with the suspect the day of the murder was played before a jury but the part containing Vashon Walker's criminal history was supposed to be muted; unfortunately, the prosecution missed their cue, causing a mistrial. 

"It calls into question the character of the defendant, which is not allowed," Judge Jordan told jurors "Based upon that, I am going to have to declare a mistrial."

Walker is accused of fatally shooting his girlfriend in the head on June 17, 2014. Last year he plead not guilty, claiming an intruder was responsible for the murder. 
"I was still in the back seat looking for my phone," Walker told police during the interview that was played during court, "By the time I went in the house was a man pointing a gun at me."

Pre-trial, the prosecution and defense agreed if they played the video for jurors it would be stopped before playing critical details about Walker's criminal history. 
The prosecution declined to comment on a case that is still open. However, Walker's attorney Mark Shelnut said his client was disappointed.

"We wanted to go ahead and finish the trial obviously and get to the jury but he is entitled to have a fair trial as is every American," Shelnut said. 

Before the mistrial was determined, jurors heard testimony from the victim's sister who claimed Walker abused her sister in the past.
"She actually told me while we were on the phone that he hit her with a gun," she said.

The victim's sister also says she recalls Walker kicking in her sister's door in the past and shared a text message where her sister indicated she was afraid Walker would hurt her.

The prosecution and defense hope to start a new trial by March 2016.

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