The Huntsville Item, Huntsville, TX

Local News

January 8, 2012

Jury selection begins Tuesday in nightclub stabbing

HUNTSVILLE — The murder trial of a Shepherd man charged in the 2010 stabbing death of a 22-year-old outside a Huntsville nightclub begins this week at the Walker County Courthouse.

Cody Ray Walters is set to appear before District Judge Don Kraemer as jury selection gets under way at 9 a.m. Tuesday. Walters was arrested and charged for the murder of John Wayne McCrary, also of Shepherd, in the parking lot of Shenanigan’s on 11th Street in the early morning hours of Dec. 20, 2009.

“We are very happy that the day has finally come for the person who is accused of murdering our son to face justice,” Mack McCrary, the father of the victim, said Wednesday.

“The district attorney’s office, the Texas Rangers and everyone involved in the case has been on top of things from day one. We are very thankful for all the support they have given our family.”

According to police reports, John Wayne McCrary was stabbed multiple times in the parking lot of Shenanigan’s shortly after 1 a.m. on Dec. 30, 2010. He died several hours later during surgery at Hermann Memorial Hospital in Houston.

At the time, the Huntsville Police Department did not have a suspect in the stabbing, but after interviewing witnesses, Walters became a person of interest. He later turned himself into the San Jacinto County Sheriff’s Office after a warrant for was issued for his arrest on murder charges. He was transported to Walker County.

The HPD was assisted in the eight-day search for a suspect by the Sam Houston State University Police Department, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, the Trinity Police Department, the Trinity County Sheriff’s Department and Texas Ranger Steve Jeter.

“It was excellent police work by all the involved parties,” HPD Lt. Jim Barnes said at the time of the arrest. “It was just diligence on (lead investigator) Eric Scott’s part and a desire to see this case through. We knew eventually it would happen and we’re glad it did. Now it’s time to move forward and prosecute this case.”

No motive for the crime has be disclosed but the victim’s family hopes it will come out during the trial. Mack McCrary said that there were rumors that his son was a friend of Walters, but that was not true.

“I know my son and he was a good kid,” Mack McCrary said. “People have tried to say he was involved in some bad stuff, but I know he wasn’t and he certainly was not friends with Cody Walters. I know my son’s friends. He might have met Cody Walters but he did not know his name.

“There are a lot of questions that we should finally get the answers to.”

Walters was brought back to Walker County several times in 2010 after he was released Feb. 26  on a $100,000 conditional bond. In November of that year, his bond was revoked on charges of harassment and he was taken back into custody.

Kraemer set the bond on subsequent charges at $1 million. One of the conditions of that bond prohibited Walters from contacting a young Katy woman, Ashley Madrid, with whom he had had a relationship. Walker County District Attorney David Weeks said that Walters repeatedly called Madrid during a certain period of time. This led to the bond being revoked.

“He had a job and was put on conditional bond. He had a place to live and work in San Jacinto County, and he had people willing and able to support him. Then, he started harassing this woman again,” Weeks said when the bond was revoked. “He called her 55 times in a four-hour period. He called her family. He scared her to death.”

After his initial release on the $100,000 bond in February, Walters was arrested again a month later for burglary of vehicle and he bonded out. He was brought in again on July 25 on a charge of harassment by email. Walters was out on bond again by July 26.

On Aug. 8, he was brought in on a bench warrant related to the murder charge but was released again on Aug. 13. On Sept. 10, Walters was brought in for bond revocation, and he again bonded out and was released Sept. 15.

“We want justice for our family,” Mack McCrary said. “(Walters) is trouble. If he is found guilty, we want the maximum sentence.”

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