Pubdate: Sat, 20 Jan 2007
Source: Regina Leader-Post (CN SN)
Copyright: 2007 The Leader-Post Ltd.
Author: Pamela Cowan


YORKTON -- There is no good guy or bad guy in the Kim Walker murder 
trial, just two suffering families, Yorkton's mayor said Friday.

"Now, there's two families that will be losing loved ones," said 
Chris Wyatt, shortly after a jury found Walker guilty of the 
second-degree murder of James Hayward.

"One family has already lost a son and a brother and now the other 
has lost a father and a husband," he said.

The two-week-long trial has also had a big impact on the city's 
17,000 residents, with Wyatt saying media attention on Yorkton has 
been intense.

"When you have a murder trial in your city, it's definitely a 
negative to the city, but the justice process has to go through," he said.

The media has provided fair coverage, with the mayor stressing, 
"Yorkton is a safe community and a great place to raise your family."

Throughout the trial, the mood has been tense in Yorkton, and "people 
have differing opinions," Wyatt said.

Opinions ranged from those who think Walker was justified in killing 
a drug dealer in order to save his daughter to those who feel the 
jury should have convicted him of first-degree murder.

The one constant was that the trial was the topic of most 
conversations Friday night.

Continued from Page A1

Former city councillor Barry Farrell was shocked when he heard the verdict.

"The verdict is hard to accept. Walker was nothing but a good solid 
citizen," said Farrell, who added he hopes Walker will appeal.

Walking out of the Chalet Restaurant Friday evening, Brenda 
Kondratoff reacted to the verdict as a parent.

"A father's love for his daughter and her safety was what first 
struck me," she said. "Then I felt compassion for James Hayward's 
mother because she didn't have a chance to save her son. There is no 
reason to ever hurt anyone but ..."

Eating a turkey dinner inside the restaurant, George Skrumeda said 
the verdict was fair.

"You can't take the law into your own hands because his daughter was 
becoming addicted to the morphine," he said. "There are other 
channels he could have taken to solve the problem."

Skrumeda, who followed the trial closely, said he feels for the 
Hayward family. "Losing a family member in that way. (The father) 
shouldn't have acted as judge and jury."

Nolan Barnes was relieved that Walker will be eligible for parole in 10 years.

"He could have gotten a lot longer," said the 15-year-old. "My 
parents have said they wouldn't know what they would do in similar 

Barnes, who counts Kim Walker as a friend, said, "He is a very nice 
man who has helped me with a lot of things. He fixed the chain on my 
bike -- simple things that mean so much."

At the Gallagher Centre, where the Yorkton Terriers were playing the 
Estevan Bruins Friday night, Cara Murray, 23, said she agreed with the verdict.

"Although (Walker) said he had a reason to shoot, he could have 
helped his daughter in another way," she said.

Her husband, Brian Murray, 24, differed from his wife, saying Walker 
should never have received a second-degree murder conviction.

"He should have got manslaughter because he did it for a justifiable 
reason. But he shouldn't have been able to walk away free," he said.

Tracy Gabriel, a 26-year-old Springside resident, compared the trial 
to Robert Latimer's murder conviction for killing his daughter Tracy.

"I think (Walker) thought he was doing the best thing for his 
daughter," said Gabriel. "And I think he did try to explore other 
options. But I think he grew frustrated, just like Latimer ... It was 
so important to him that he took another person's life."

The trial has also put the spotlight on a common problem, Wyatt said.

"It has brought attention to an addictive situation involving drugs," 
Wyatt said. "While we are a smaller city in our province, it doesn't 
mean you can ignore problems associated with larger cities."
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