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Jul-12-2006 23:23printcommentsVideo

Mother Fights for Her Son's Innocence (VIDEO)

Alesia Walker says the man who killed Phillip Gillins is walking around scot-free while her son, wrongly convicted, sits behind bars.

Darrell Sky Walker
Darrell Sky Walker was convicted in the death of Phillp Gillins, but his mother says Eugene Police failed to locate witnesses that could have cleared her son

(EUGENE) - The mother of 23-year old Darrell Sky Walker says her son was wrongly convicted of manslaughter in the June 2005 death of 22-year-old college student Phillip Gillins in Eugene. Alesia Walker of Riverside, California, says her son was wrongly convicted in Lane County by a system that failed to turn up key witnesses who could have cleared him.

Walker says the incident happened when her son and two of his friends, J.D. Beall and Ryan Joyce, were walking near Taylor’s Bar in Eugene. She says two men standing nearby yelled racial slurs toward the two white men accompanying Walker, who is black.

The racial slurs led to a fight, and during the fight Phillip Gillins was struck to the ground. Several witnesses reported that J.D. Beall bragged about the knockout punch. That is until Gillins died in the hospital four days later from injuries he suffered in the fight.

Over the course of a year, Eugene Police say they tried but were unable to contact Walker’s friend Ryan Joyce. But when Sterling Alexander of the NAACP set out to locate him, he found Joyce in the first four hours, the first time he tried.

Others say Joyce had been drinking regularly at Taylor's during the entire period that police in Eugene say they were unable to locate him.

Since being located, both J.D. Beall and Ryan Joyce, have cited their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and refused to testify. That is, after five witnesses testified that Beall admitted to knocking out Gillins.

Citing the location of Joyce and other witnesses who had materialized since the NAACP’s involvement, a letter was drafted by attorneys on Walker’s behalf and forwarded to the office of the Lane County District Attorney F. Douglass Harcleroad, asking for a new trial.

The request was refused, Halcleroad saying the conviction is one that his office will stand behind, “absent new and strongly compelling evidence of his innocence.” The team representing Walker say that is, indeed, exactly what they have. Increasing political pressure from activists like the Reverand Jesse Jackson and the national office of the NAACP is expected to bring new light on this case.

Watch the video report below by's Tim King


Internal Comments are Closed on this story.

Anonymous June 2, 2010 11:01 pm (Pacific time)

This is a sad story! This child should not be behind bars because some man decided to be raciest to another. But as far as the rest of you trying to pull the "Black Card", well that is just wrong. Maybe he didnt get a fair trial. But that give no one no right to say "oh he was black." BS! What is it that makes you think that something will come out of saying that. I am white and feel that he may not have gotten a fair trial but not because he is black but because of lack of evidence in his favor!

LH July 1, 2009 10:35 am (Pacific time)

I am friends with Sky and I was with him, Ryan, and JD before they headed to the bars the night this happened. It disgusts me that JD was able to turn his back on his friend and let him go down for something he knows he is responsible for. I still cant believe Sky was convicted considering the many testimonials from people who heard JD say he did it. Sky doesn't have the capacity to do something this cruel and JD on the other hand has been in many violent fights since we were in highschool together. Sky is innocent, Ryan and JD have admitted this to almost everyone except the justice system. As for Ryan, I am sorry you don't know how to do the right thing and come forward to clear your friend. Your lucky its not your ass that got blamed because JD would have let you go down just as easily

friend of phill April 8, 2009 9:41 am (Pacific time)

I think everyone is forgetting that this man was convicted. ive known phill for over five years and know for a fact that he did not say any racist comment. So he was jumped for no reason and his life was ended. Walker got off light if you ask me only six years for the death of another person. I do believe that walker is giulty and i am sad that this incident ended with the loss of two lives phills and walkers for his life will never be the same either. I dont believe that walkers friends are completly inocent in this matter and they should be brought to justice. From what I have heard it was one of them that said the heard the Racist commint and instigated the situation

Tanya Steimel March 8, 2008 5:44 pm (Pacific time)

my husband was wrongly accused of sex abuse. Our teenage daughter lied and stated my husband sexually abused her and I physically abused her. We had proof to prove our innocence and the legal system simply ignored it.

Tanya Steimel March 8, 2008 5:42 pm (Pacific time)

Our teenage daughter lied and put my husband in prison for sex abuse. We had alot of proof to prove his innocence and the legal system simply ignored that proof.

Sandra July 19, 2007 1:27 am (Pacific time)

Wish you luck! google team.

The Editor March 31, 2007 4:37 pm (Pacific time)

Please write to us via email at, sorry to hear about this.

Injustice is the norm March 31, 2007 3:21 pm (Pacific time)

We have a good story of injustice in Polk County. After a year of terrorism, and death threats by a neighbor, he jumped our fence and attempted to assault my disabled husband while attempting to destroy our property. We had begged the sheriffs department and DA for help over that year repeatedly but they would not protect us, my husband was in their office 3 days prior to this event begging again. The DA dropped all charges against the criminal, the judge allowed his perjurous testimony in court although proven on the stand. The criminal filed a $20,000 lawsuit for a papercut on his ear 5 months prior to the criminal trial. In order to collect he had to be sure there was a conviction and since he was the victim he insured conviction by perjuring himself, his wife claimed she had seen the entire event but didn't say anything to anyone until the day of trial and was allowed to be a witness, she was proven to be perjuring herself also and by her testimony proved her husband was lying during his testimony. My husband is now a felon. The DA refused to pursue perjury charges. Since this time the man constantly violated a stalking order, continued his terrorism of our family and we had no way to defend ourselves. Oregon has no justice system.

Tina January 23, 2007 1:56 pm (Pacific time)

I believe this needs to be brought to light. I have an INNOCENT relative currently serving time for a crime he did not commit. Are there any support groups for Oregon inmates wrongly convicted? I was shocked to learn how often this happens. Most citizens belive that if a person is in prison, they belong there, but this is not always the case.

Nita January 17, 2007 8:01 am (Pacific time)

I have known this young man family for many years and find it hard to beleive that he would do such a thing. There seems to be too many inconsistencies regarding this case and someone needs to address this!!! It sounds like reasonable doubt to me. I am a mother of a son who is around the same age as Darrell and I know first hand about how racism plays a part in our young black men's life. I have known for years that the State of Oregon was prejudice. White Society in a whole is scared of our black boys and what they may become in life, this is why the try so hard to create false situation in order for our young men to have crime records. As for those other young men who were with Darrell YOU NEED TO COME CLEAN AND TELL THE TRUTH AS TO WHO HIT THAT BOY WHO DIED!!

Anonymous November 30, 2006 5:35 pm (Pacific time)

Can’t anybody just stop and look into their hearts and see what I see? I see a man that has done nothing wrong, but is getting hit with stones and bricks, for nothing at all. Don’t you think his family deserves a break? What about his mother? She is fighting tooth and nail for her son, because he is innocent! She is tired, but she is giving it her all just so her son can walk a free man. Who are you people to judge him just because you think he’s the prime suspect? You don’t know him like I do. Sky is my cousin, and I am telling you to let this man and his mother live their lives freely. You must really have a black heart if you can’t tell that he’s innocent. Please! You have to let my big cousin come home to his family. We’re waiting for him!

Anonymous October 17, 2006 7:13 pm (Pacific time)

I guess this story truley shows you should pick your friends wisely. weather he did or he didnt makes no difference. The problem here is this young man chose the wrong friends. This is a result of por parenting, He apparently was never taught to be bigger and just walk away rather than to add fuel to the fire to see who was tougher...if he is indeed not guilty, he will not go to jail, but you have to look at the facts of the case...he better call his buddies and get them to testify....

Anonymous October 12, 2006 10:00 am (Pacific time)


Anonymous October 11, 2006 11:35 am (Pacific time)


FRIEND OF SKY October 7, 2006 10:09 am (Pacific time)

I thought in this country someone is innocent until proven guilty...not the opposite,which it seems to be all to often in this society. I have known Darrell Walker for about 6 years, and this friend would never do such a thing. Darrel had many friends of various races, creeds, ethnicities, and cultures, and unfortunately it looks like he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. I am appalled at the justice system as usually, in it's failure to actually convict the people who did the crime. I am truly saddened to hear of this news, and we will make our voices heard, and we will prevent another injustice.

Anonymous October 6, 2006 11:22 pm (Pacific time)


anonymous October 3, 2006 9:51 pm (Pacific time)

No one seems to mention or ask how many felonies that Walker was charged with in California so he stayed in Oregon to avoid being arrested there. Nice to have big money backing you. Lets tell the whole story about how he has action and honesty. !!!!!

Anonymous October 3, 2006 2:08 pm (Pacific time)

Don't speak about Phillip's family, you don't know them or what they are going through. All of you guys writing these messsages jump to the conclusion that this article is purely factual. There were two witnesses present when Phil was hit. They saw Walker hit him. There is racism festering in every community, however, this conviction is not a product of such racism.

Anonymous October 1, 2006 12:55 pm (Pacific time)

You have a lot of courage asking someone to look "remorseful" for something you have been falsely accused of. You actually said "whether it was him who did it or not." Don't you get it? Can't you hear your own words? You're asking a wrongly accused innocent man to be sorry for what he didn't do, as his personal life and liberty are forsaken. Why can't people go back to their grade school educations are read the part about "taking responsibility". They convicted the wrong man, they thought they could get away with it, and now the waters of Eugene's racist pool are heating up and people don't like it. Why did Phillip make racist comments in the first place? This was the son of a judge, people expect more. Or was that the theme of the household? This country was still allowing the legal murder of blacks in '55. That WASN'T VERY LONG AGO! In '47 they were still banned from serving with whites in uniform. This young man's life is ruined and his mom was called names. He was sold out by his lawyer, his family was taken advantage of. The worst thing is that the guy who did it is running around free. Why isn't Phillip's family bothered by that? Too much effort? Of course what hardship have they known before this? I know that there was sorrow over the death of that young man, but we live in a country so full of racial prejudice, that even the innoccent blunders are sad and embarrassing. Next time you're about to go to prison for something you didn't do, convicted in a kangaroo racist court in Eugene, Oregon, be sure and "look remorseful."

tired of this October 1, 2006 12:32 pm (Pacific time)

NO ONE has any accountablity anymore, it's all looking for someone else to blame. The problems arise when we use the "issue" to get our way, even when we know deep down in our hearts it has nothing to do with that. I was at the trial. I looked that man straight in his face. I even felt a little sorry for him. However, what i saw in that man's face was a complete look of indifference, up until the verdict was laid down. He was as cool as a cucumber, completely detached from the devastation that he, or his friends, or whoever wrought on Phillip Gillins' family and friends. He didn't have a shred of remorse on his face for what happened that night, whether it was him who did it or not. That to me says a lot about the content of this man's character. For once, can we please try to make it about content of character and not about race? Or shall we just spin in circles for another 400 years?

Jeanne Keith September 1, 2006 10:13 am (Pacific time)

Yes the Oregon justice system has failed. My son is facing measure 11 charges for defending himself in his own home. Somehow the attackers became the victims because they went to the hospital instead of him. Thank God he was able to defend himself. They are claiming his use of a weapon (a plastic lawn chair)and excessive force( he should have ran away) is what got him charged rather that the attackers. The arresting officer is related to the two men who attacked my son. Over the course of the last year while he has awaited trial, the DA has learned this information yet still persues the case. The only information sent to the grand jury for the original indictment was the police report from this related officer. Obviously a one sided and bias indictment. Yet the DA still persues. When attempting to persue a malitious prosecution suit, to attempt to end this all, we were told by attorneys that there was no recourse against the officer or the DA's office because the grand jury indictment relieves them of responsibility. If anyone who reads this has any ideas on who I can contact or organizations who may be helpful, please email me at

another mother August 26, 2006 12:41 am (Pacific time)

MY son was screwed by the Eugene unjust system as well.My heart goes out to you.I have been searching for justice in OR for 5 yrs.Your son is adorable. I will pray for you .Stay strong.You are an inspiration to me. Thank You.

Sad mom July 17, 2006 11:25 pm (Pacific time)

excuse me son who is a white college student and assaulted the very same way but did not die a year later in eugene but could have was stereotyped by a clever defense atty as a "rowdy,drunken,spoiled white college kid" who is not telling truth w/7 witnesses to his assault.the guy who assaulted him was let off by a jury because they believed the stereotype presented. The police were rudely treated and DA. This person is on the street to do this again.Horrible crime that left my son w/no memory for many days after.I get tired of everyone referencing it a racial prejudice.There is injustice out there for everyone including the govt workers who have too much work and no one appreciates it. Very sad mother in Oregon

injustice in oregon July 17, 2006 11:16 pm (Pacific time)

Be Careful to jump to conclusions.There was a witness to the punch who sd the person convicted did it. People jump to conclusions and tear down police and da but dont want to pay taxes for salaries that would givepolice enough time to write reports needed and investigate and DA's are swamped with people are only looking at one narrow view and have no idea what goes on within the system.How about the defense atty--maybe he/she should have done a better job. ive seen too many guilty people get off with a good defense lawyer who has time/money to get every detail of law right but the public police and DA don't have the $ and time to do one wants to pay more taxes?you should go down and see what its like to go to 5 emergencies and then have to write 5 reports on them after. do you want police writing the reports at length or do you want them responding to your emergency? get a well rounded education before blurting out an opinion. Why is oregon failing the tax payers because you dont care enough to find out what the real problem just complain and dont want to pay or volunteer!!! I'm not a police officer either.See what they are paid to die for you.

Kat July 16, 2006 8:07 am (Pacific time)

UNBELIEVEABLE!! If evidence was given to the police department to clear this man, someone needs to re-evaluate the situation. This is disgusting to know that police have new information regarding this case and refuse to follow up. That could be anyone of us sitting there in jail. If it was your family member would you just sit back and do nothing? This is not the first case of injustice that I have read about from Oregon. I would be afraid to live in a state that refuses to look at it's inner problems. What happened to innocent until proven guilty?

Michelle July 11, 2006 4:53 pm (Pacific time)

Yes racism is very strong in Oregon, I can believe it I witness it first hand while being there. All the evidence the DA had was doubt from the very beginng. The witness they used to convict Darrel said in his testimonie that he did not see Darrell fist connect to the victim face. But he is a 100% sure he did it when he saw 2 black and 1 white male in the alley but actually it was 1 black and 2 white you figure that out .. stop the racism and violence deeply sadden for the victim family but they should want the real killer instead of black man.

Tamara July 11, 2006 1:26 pm (Pacific time)

It is amazing to me how "Blatant" Racism still exsists and

Baby Doll July 11, 2006 1:05 pm (Pacific time)


Anonymous July 11, 2006 11:32 am (Pacific time)

The tendency for officials who screw up is to cover up and obfuscate the situation. Certainly there are more than enough unanswered questions in the case and conviction of Darrell Sky Walker to prompt a review of the known facts, the thoroughness of the investigation, witness testimony, adequate defense and much more. Justice is not always served up to achieve a fair outcome, but rather is applied for the convenience of the institution. It is at these moments when we test the validity of our system and the true authority of our governance. If our public officials can not tolerate the light of disclosure then they should be removed from office. We trust that those we hold to a high standard live by it -- rather than conceal themselves in the shadows of denunciation intended to obscure their blunders. Instead of doing the right thing, the just and fair thing – they chose expediency instead! Is that all we can or should expect from the guardians of our freedoms? I hope not but I fear so. T. D. Samuel Gates, OR

Kay July 11, 2006 9:11 am (Pacific time)

God is definitely moving in Oregon! People need to take a stand on the injustice in this state its out of hand and only getting worse if we dont start doing something about it. It could be your child next! Go to a NAACP meeting or contact Sterling Alexander and find out what you can do to make a difference!

info July 11, 2006 12:46 am (Pacific time)

Below are some links of other articles written on the Darrell Walker case. We all need to come together and adress this and other issues

Bryan July 11, 2006 12:19 am (Pacific time)

To all who wrote comments on this article. I strongly encourage you to contact Sterling Alexander of the Salem-Keizer NAACP. (503-566-8876) I am aware that he has personally spoken with Rev. Jesse Jackson about this case and others issues in Oregon. God is starting to move in Oregon. We need more people to start coming forward on issues like this.

S.I.N. July 10 2006 8:27pm July 10, 2006 9:05 pm (Pacific time)

We hope that a collection of files on other Black students within the last five years will help this case, I know it sounds like a long shot but it is a path, "see" how many can be noted as "questionable convictions" Lane County has used black children as commodity for the courts and crime infested Judges in various unlawful ways. There is a serving underground operations without question. Find the links in this and you will free this young man with the possiblity of many more. Black males are recruited to the population and other white students are helping in the crimes of drugs, burglary and the sort. This will unfold as national attention, that is needed with the #s to support a federal investigation on civil rights violations and individual law enforcement procedures. Other families will come forth with more information. It will make history for the first time to have injustice unfold for the world to see what the secrets of the Legal system really are in Eugene Oregon,"city of perdition". Most of the Lawyers sit in local bars and discuss who will be their next target. Check their credibility to serve in our courts and you will out just how it works. It is not about justice, it is about money for the system to substain its "practice." How many law suits never got off the ground in defense of blacks being handled wrongly. There are educators that know all about this horrible fate enforced in Eugene. They need to Speak NOW! Check all schools and landlords that rent to these students also. There are certain locations showing a pattern of the flow that eventually lead to prison. S.I.N. strength in numbers. Victory will come.

Edward Hollomon July 10, 2006 8:08 pm (Pacific time)

What was the evidence Oregon prosecutors used that was so compelling? Just the thought they could not locate a witness that could have cleared Walker shows bias. If they would have find that witness immediately he probably would have told the true. It seems he was there all the time. I know from experience you have to get the true(wits etc) imediatley, before other get to them. I am a member of the NAACP and an ex homicide investigator. I am puzzled as to how did they get a conviction with this kind of investigation. Sounds racist to me.

Van July 10, 2006 5:01 pm (Pacific time)

The Oregon justice system is not only failing our tax payers it is also failing the innocent people they are convicting wrongly. who is going to hold them accountable??? We the people should hold them accountable. We as citizens don't want to get involved becuase it not affecting us personally. Most people have the mentality "If its not in my house then I wont clean it" We all need to speak up and address issues like this.

Irate July 10, 2006 4:05 pm (Pacific time)

Why is it that the Oregon Justice system is failing our tax-payers? Who is here to hold the Justice System accountable when our voice as a society is muffled? This angers me as an Oregonian and as an American. Just because they feel they have done enough to support their decision, who is going to hold them accountable?

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