Bill could help murder victims get justice - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Bill could help murder victims get justice

A judge must decide whether to allow the pictures of murder victims in court before they were killed. A judge must decide whether to allow the pictures of murder victims in court before they were killed.
Walker says she cannot imagine the hurt she would have felt had the jury not been able to see her son as he truly lived. Walker says she cannot imagine the hurt she would have felt had the jury not been able to see her son as he truly lived.

(WMC-TV) - A bill at the Tennessee state capitol could help murder victims gain justice.

A judge must decide whether to allow the pictures of murder victims in court before they were killed. A new bill could make it a standing rule across the board or end showing pictures of murder victims in court altogether.

Beverly Walker's 22-year-old son, Benjamin, was shot and killed in May 2009. He spent his teen years building up his own successful tree service.

"He did a very good job at it. I was surprised to see how large his network was," said Walker.

Benjamin was the victim of an armed robbery in Frayser. His killer sits behind bars.

"This is Ben Walker," said Beverly holding a picture of her son grinning. "It's not Ben Walker .... The pictures of a dying young man in the street ... It's not Ben Walker on a coroner's table ... This is Ben Walker. This is my son."

Walker says she cannot imagine the hurt she would have felt had the jury not been able to see her son as he truly lived.

"When you see the accused in suit and tie, glasses with a briefcase and you look at the mug shot, you realize is that prejudicial? It's not a fair representation in most cases," she said.

Walker says showing the victims' pictures to jurors paints a real picture of who the victim was before he or she was murdered.

"It's conceivable that in the state of Tennessee that future murder trials could go on without the jury actually seeing who the victim is," said Walker.

In Nashville Wednesday, legislators made a motion to move discussion of that bill to this summer. Walker says since the bill was pushed back, it is not too late for Tennesseans to get involved, appealing to state lawmakers.

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