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      Conway attorney sentenced for murder-for-hire plot

      Police arrested Walker in September after an undercover officer posed as a hit man and Walker tried to pay him money to murder Doug Thornton, another Conway attorney.

      The Conway attorney who tried to hire a hit man to kill another attorney pleaded guilty Monday in a Charleston courtroom.

      Judge Roger Young sentenced Irby Walker to three years in prison for solicitation of murder and ordered him to five years probation.

      The hearing was held in Charleston County to avoid a conflict of interest in Horry County, Solicitor Greg Hembree said.

      Police arrested Walker in September after an undercover officer posed as a hit man, and Walker tried to pay him money to murder Doug Thornton, another Conway attorney.

      Police say they recorded conversations Walker had with another person about how much Walker would be willing to pay to have Thornton killed, but the authorities interrupted the plot before it could be carried out.

      In court on Monday, Walker told the judge "that person was not me," and he said he was a nice person.

      "I've never in my life tried to harm another human being," Walker told the court. "My entire life ... up until September 17, 2009 has always been about, basically, trying to help people, and I love people."

      The judge felt Walker's apology wasn't sincere and said that "bothered" him, and he told Walker he wanted to the public to know attorneys don't get away with just slaps on the wrist.

      Thornton said he appreciated all the judge did and thought justice was served, but he still didn't think Walker truly apologized.

      "I didn't feel it was a very sincere attempt to apologize," Thornton said.

      The men have known each other since 1982, and Thornton said he shared an office with Walker until 2006.

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