Westmoreland News

Follow Us On:

Case takes another turn

Posted on Wednesday, November 13, 2019 at 2:12 pm

The saga of Walter West’s trip through the legal system continues to take a multitude of twists and turns. West got a rather nasty Christmas present in the form of an arrest on Christmas Day back in 2017, after allegedly wounding Emmet Cox the day before with a knife in a drunken rage. Since his arrest and charge of malicious wounding, his case has wound its way through the legal system. West was before the court last week when his current lawyer, Mr. Illijevich, had multiple motions, ranging from a change of venue and a bond motion, to concerns over whether West was being given a speedy trial.

The bond was denied after Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Kennon McArtor brought up the fact that there had been several complaints of public intoxication involving West when he was out on bond.

“He has a huge incentive to disappear if he’s granted bond, and the victims are afraid of what he might do if released,” McArtor commented.

Judge Hewitt agreed, also striking down a motion for a change of venue when West’s lawyer brought up concerns about how an abduction conviction back in 1984 could cast a pall over the investigation and possibly taint the jury.

“These are always difficult issues to balance, but none of the prosecutors for that case are here now,” Hewitt pointed out. “We don’t ask jurors to be ignorant, just unbiased.”

West, who had been out on bond during his preliminary hearing in June last year, was arrested for pretrial violations in October last year. His case was continued several times, usually whenever his current lawyer withdrew from the case and he was assigned a new one, starting with Mr. Trible, then to Mr. Monroe, and currently, Mr. Illijevich. The case, which was supposed to go to a jury trial on the 18th of last October, will go before a jury of his peers on January 31, 2020, barring any further continuances or lawyer changes.