Man to serve life term in murder of his partner - Couple had history of violence; Walker attacked Wiley with hammer in 2011

Published on Friday, 9 May 2014 23:42 - Written by Kenneth Dean kdean@tylerpaper.com

A Smith County jury deliberated about 90 minutes Friday before deciding on a life sentence for Christopher Shane Wiley, who killed his partner in 2013 in Tyler.

Wiley, 39, was found guilty Thursday of the July 1, 2013, fatal shooting of his long-time partner, 52-year-old Ronald Walker, in their Tyler home on First Street.

Smith County Assistant District Attorneys Kenneth Biggs and Lucas Machicek tried the case for the state, and the defense team included Donald Davidson and Clifton Roberson.

Witnesses described the decade-long relationship between Wiley and Walker.

In 2011, Walker attacked Wiley with a hammer, breaking his leg and severely injuring him. Walker entered a guilty plea and was placed on probation for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

Prosecutors did not downplay the turbulent relationship but maintained on the night of July 1, 2013, Wiley shot his partner once in the arm as he lay on his bed and then again in the head as he stood over the cowering victim.

“This was not self-defense. This was murder,” Biggs said during closing arguments.

Biggs said in a phone interview Friday he was pleased with the guilty verdict and the sentence.

“The defense turned this into a mudslinging case about the victim, but the jury did not buy it, and they gave the only verdict and sentence the evidence would allow. This was a thought out murder, not self-defense,” he said.

Police detailed how they found the home in the 300 block of First Street in Tyler on July 1, and the prosecution played a taped interview of Wiley in his hospital room two days later in which Wiley said he did not know he had shot and killed Walker.

However, prosecutors said Wiley’s mother called 911 stating she believed her son had killed his partner.

Wiley was hospitalized for several days with alcohol poisoning.

Wiley will be now remanded into the custody of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice where he will begin serving the life sentence.