NEWTON COUNTY - by Mike Lout/KJAS - Newton County Sheriff Joe Walker said Tuesday that he had sent a letter to Newton County Judge Truman Dougharty officially resigning his position as sheriff, effective Wednesday.
Walker said that contrary to the rumors that had floated around over the last few weeks that he had continued to serve as Sheriff since his defeat in the May Primary Election, but that he had also served a short internship at a company where he intends to work following his departure as Sheriff.
Walker said knowing that he was out of a job at the end of the year that he was forced to make arrangements to find employment elsewhere to continue to take care of his family and other obligations.
Walker, who served two terms as Sheriff, first taking office in 2004, and re-elected in 2008, was defeated by Eddie Shannon, in the Democrat Primary. However, his term would not have officially ended until December 31st.
Shannon defeated his two challengers, Robert “Bug” Davis, who ran on the Republican ticket and Josh Hancock who ran as a write in candidate in the recent General Election.
Walker has said that following his departure from the Sheriff’s Department that he plans to work in the safety industry.
Who will be appointed to fill the unexpired term is not known, but a meeting of the Newton County Commissioners Court has been scheduled for 10:00 on Wednesday morning and an item placed on the agenda says that the court will consider an appointment of an individual to serve in the interim period.
Walker said that the recent reports that he was under investigation following allegations that he was not performing his duties were not true. According to Walker, he has no knowledge of any such investigation and said that the only investigation that he was aware of was the recent investigation into his actions following a shooting that left a Newton County man dead earlier this year.
In that case, Walker and one of his deputies, Sergeant Jay Matthews fired shots that killed James Weldon after the Burkeville man allegedly opened fire on them at his home on County Road 2116, just off of Highway 63 East.
The incident occurred after Walker and Matthews received a report that Weldon had threatened family members and also told neighbors that he had explosives and booby traps on his property.
Following the shooting, Walker requested that the Texas Rangers perform a full investigation into the incident.