Original suspect in deadly college dorm fire indicted again - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Original suspect in deadly college dorm fire indicted again

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Jerry Walker Jerry Walker
Michael Minger (Source; WAVE 3 Archives) Michael Minger (Source; WAVE 3 Archives)
Gail Minger Gail Minger
Richard Shepherd Richard Shepherd
Hester Hall at Murray State University Hester Hall at Murray State University

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - It's a major development in a case that changed fire safety regulations at public universities in Kentucky and around the nation. The man originally charged in the deadly dorm fire at Murray State University has been indicted again.

Jerry Walker was originally charged with setting the 1998 fire at Hester Hall that killed Michael Minger. The former student was back before a judge Thursday after a grand jury indicting Walker again.

"It amazed me in how much emotion came with all of that and I really thought after 13 years I had felt it all," said Gail Minger, Michael's mother, of the news.

An in-depth Kentucky State Police review of the case turned up important evidence that didn't come out at Walker's original murder trial, which ended in a hung jury. Prosecutors say they are confident of a different result this time around.

"To know that other people really believe that it was important to have a resolution and find that person who started that fire means a lot," Mrs. Minger said.

Richard Shepherd, who is now a director at WAVE 3, was a friend of Michael Minger. He was a student at Murray State at the time of the fire, but that night didn't know his friend Michael was the victim.

"It was heartbreaking," Shepherd remembered, "because he had actually lived in my dorm with me just down the hall and he had moved out because his bike had gotten stolen and he said it wasn't safe, then the fire happened and he passed away."

To Shepherd, who had TV production classes with Minger, the news that Walker, who is now 35, had been again charged with the crime came as both a shock and a relief.

"Once they released him, I thought the case was going to be a cold case and there would be no justice for Michael," said Shepherd, "and I really hope there is justice for him."

This time, Walker is charged with manslaughter, arson and 14 counts of wanton endangerment. Michael's mother

Gail Minger, who continues to travel to universities across the country promoting fire safety education, said she's satisfied with that.

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