REBECCA, Ga. (WALB) - State law enforcement records show that the man accused of killing a Turner County family nearly 19 years ago had been involved in domestic disputes with a romantic partner prior to the killings.
Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) agents announced on Dec. 2 that Jason Michael Walker had been arrested, after a grand jury indicted him on charges, including malice and felony murder, feticide and arson.
In the indictment, prosecutors allege that Walker killed Tommy Joe, Deborah and Melissa Wideman and Melissa’s unborn baby in March 2002 before setting their Turner County home on fire.
After his arrest, GBI agents said Walker was the biological father of Melissa’s unborn child.
WALB looked into the suspect’s background, including his previous work in law enforcement.
According to his file with the Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Council, he worked with Ashburn Police from 1998-99 and the Turner County Sheriff’s Office from 1999-2000.
However, POST went on to deny his ability to be certified as a peace officer after he was “involved in several incidents of domestic violence and one incident resulted in the candidate (Walker) being criminally charged.”
Those charges were later dropped.
The POST case summary did not state the name of the other person involved in those incidents. The summary only referred to that person as Walker’s “ex-boy/girlfriend” and later his “boy/girlfriend.”
The case summary reported three incidents: one that happened in December 2000 and two in January 2001.
The summary said that incident reports stated Walker was accused of pushing his ex down steps, pointing a rifle at them as they drove away, pushing his boy/girlfriend down and kicking them, and hitting them on the head.
After the second and third incidents, the case summary said that Walker was charged with two counts of simple battery (family violence) and one count of obstructing person making emergency telephone calls.
The case summary said that in December 2001, the District Attorney’s office dismissed all the charges, because the girlfriend wanted charges dismissed because she was pregnant with Walker’s baby.
The charges were dismissed less than four months before GBI agents say they believe the suspect killed the Widemans and his and Melissa’s unborn child.
POST denied Walker’s ability to receive peace officer certification in August 2002. POST did not have any record of him working in law enforcement in Georgia since then.
Walker is being held in the Crisp County Jail.
WALB has requested the incident reports for those domestic incidents.
WALB also reached out to the Tifton Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s office, the current Turner County sheriff and Walker’s attorney for comments on this story, but we did not hear back.