Trial resumes for East Texas grandparents accused of scalding granddaughter

TYLER (KYTX) - Testimony resumed Thursday in the trial against an East Texas couple accused of scalding their granddaughter's feet in a bathtub full of hot water. Kenneth and Shelley Walker of Smith County are co-defendants in the 241st District Court.

Tyler Detective Michelle Brock testified that she had been involved in the initial investigation into what happened at the Walker's home, as well as interviews with the Walkers and their family members.

Brock told Assistant District Attorney Jason Parrish that the Walker's daughter-in-law, Amanda, told two different versions of what happened on the day in question. Brock said it was cause for suspicion an she believed Amanda's story had been influenced by Kenneth and Shelley.

The prosecution then played a recorded video of Shelley's interview with Detective Brock from March of 2012.

In that interview, Shelley told Brock that the first time she knew something was wrong was when her granddaughter came walking down the hall and noticed her feet were red and the skin was raised.

Shelley said she called 911 immediately.

"It was just a tragic accident," Shelley said. "It's my goal to keep my grand kids safe."

In the video, Brock told Shelley the police department had gotten a lot of different stories and she needed to clear up confusion.

Shelley said another grandchild may or may not have been in the bathroom with her granddaughter when the scalding incident happened.

Brock countered that Shelley told hospital workers she'd been in the bathtub immediately prior to her granddaughter getting in. Shelley claimed she never told hospital workers a story like that.

"I'm not lying to you!" Shelley said.

Shelley said after realizing her granddaughter had been injured she went to the bathroom and noticed water in the bathtub. She said she did not test the temperature of that water.

She said she was sitting in the living room and never heard the water come on prior to the incident.

Detective Brock and another detective in the room expressed disbelief that Shelley wouldn't have heard the water.

"I have allergies," Shelley said. "It makes my ears get stopped up."

The detectives then asked Shelley to go through what happened prior to the incident. She said the grandchildren ate breakfast and watched television.

Then the other detective in the interview room told Shelley he did not believe her story. He said she should admit that she or her husband had made a mistake.

"Right now is the time to tell us," he said. "Because anyone who watches this interview or your husband's interview will know it happened differently than you've said."

"I'm not lying," she said. "All I can tell you is Nicholas was in there with her."

"No he wasn't," he said. "And I can prove it."

"But that's what happened," she said.

"How dare you blame this on that little boy?" he said. "What kind of a person are you?"

Did your husband do this?" Brock said."

"No," Shelley said.

"Then you did," Brock said. "We have seven stories and not one of them is the same."

"Could your husband have done this?" Brock said.

"No," Shelley said. "He loves those kids dearly. I just saw her come out with her feet burned and if something happened to her other than that I have no idea what it could be."

The detectives pointed out inconsistencies in Shelley's account of whether she, her husband, or both of them heard the little girl screaming. Shelley said she thought she had been clear and consistent in her story.

"You're going to lie yourself into a corner," the other detective said.

The detective asked Shelley how long  it was after Kenneth left the living room before she heard her granddaughter screaming. She said it was several minutes.

The prosecution then played an audio interview recording with Kenneth Walker.

Kenneth told detectives he discovered his granddaughter's injuries an yelled for his wife immediately. He said Shelley had been in the kitchen or dining room, but not in the living room.

Detective Brock asked whether Kenneth had ever touched the water heater in his home. He said he never had, prior to the incident, but he turned it to a cooler temperature after realizing his granddaughter was scalded.

Detective Brock said his story did not match what he told 911 operators. He said he did not remember what he told them.

"You make it sound like we were trying to hurt her," Kenneth said.

"We'll if you did nothing wrong there's no reason to make six different stories up," Brock said.

Brock asked Kenneth to describe his granddaughter. He said she was going through the "terrible 2's."

"I would never hurt her, though," he said.

Kenneth described behavioral problems that made raising his grandson difficult. A tape of the 911 call indicated he told the operator that the three-year-old was with his granddaughter when the scalding incident happened.

Detective Brock asked Kenneth if his granddaughter had done anything to deserve being disciplined that morning. He said she had not, and that both children were in their room watching Sponge Bob Square Pants prior to the incident.

Kenneth said he and his wife made no phone calls before he called 911. Detective Brock said he was lying and that she knew another call was made.

"My wife may have," Kenneth said. "She apparently called Amanda (their daughter-in-law)."

"What did she apparently say when she apparently called her?" Brock said.

"I don't know," Kenneth said.

Brock asked whether a review of the phone records would reveal that Kenneth called 911 at the same time Shelley called Amanda. Kenneth said he thought so.

"Let me ask you something," Brock said, referring to Kenneth's claims of memory problems. "If you burned [your granddaughter's] feet would you even remember?"

"Yes," Kenneth said.

"We'll when the going gets tough it seems like you can't remember," Brock said.


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