Tapes reveal attorney's murder-for-hire plot
Tue, 17 Aug 2010 23:50:34 GMT —
A chubby, balding man with glasses, Irby Walker has a Southern drawl and an infectious laugh, and he used them both to build a rather successful law career.
By most accounts, he's not the type of guy who would concoct a murder-for-hire plot, and when he did, most couldn't believe it.
"Who? Irby? No way," thought Deputy Solicitor Jimmy Richardson when someone first told him Walker was out for blood.
But Richardson, like many others, were wrong in their assumptions, and the videotape evidence proves it.
Last September, Walker sat at a conference table across from a friend in his Conway office and began to discuss a murderous plot.
Walker wanted someone to kill his former colleague and attorney, Doug Thornton, and Walker needed the help of his friend.
That friend, who hasn't been identified, tipped off police when Walker first began discussing the plot, and on that September day last year, the friend was wearing a hidden camera.
In a white Oxford shirt and tie, Walker holds up one hand as if it were a gun and asks the friend, "Does he (the hit man) have a ...?"
"What? A gun? I don't know. I don't know how'll he do it. How you want it done?" asked the friend.
Calmly, Walker replied, "I don't care."
In reality, the "hit man" the friend referenced was actually an undercover Horry County Police officer, but Walker didn't know that.
All he knew was that he wanted Thornton dead, but for what reasons aren't clear. Some have suggested it had to do with a previous business dealing, and Walker thought Thornton owed him money.
On that September morning, Walker shared with his friend what he called an old Jewish writing, and it seems to suggest Walker thought Thornton was out to get him.
"It says if your enemy is going to kill you, get up early and kill him first," Walker said on the surveillance tapes.
With that, Walker said he was hungry and wanted to grab a snack, so the two men left the office and headed to a nearby restaurant.
On the way there, Walker can be heard laughing and joking with passers-by.
"Hello, darlings," he told one group.
To another, he said, "Well, well, well, that's a good looking group there."
After he ate a bagel and had a Coca-Cola, the two men walked to a back alley, and Walker seemed anxious someone was listening.
"They ain't nobody going to listen to what the hell we're talking about," the friend tried to assure Walker.
But Walker wanted privacy, and the two got in a truck when Walker instructed the friend to "drive around the f****** block."
As they drove, the friend spoke of how Thornton had done them both wrong, and he warned Walker that things wouldn't change.
"He's always going to be a thorn. You know I ain't got no love for him. I know you hate him just as bad as I do," the friend told Walker.
The conversation turned to the "hit man," who Walker believed was a cousin of the friend. Walker, however, didn't want to know anymore than that.
"We never have to meet this m*****f*****. I never have to meet this m*****f*****. I never have to do a f****** thing," Walker said, angrily.
The friend assured Walker that the "hit man" didn't want to meet Walker because, "He don't want to be able to ID you, and he don't want you to be able to ID him."
Still a bit hesitant, Walker asked the friend, "There's no question this m*****f*****'s not a cop, right?"
"No, no," the friend said.
Then, "Call him and see what it costs and then get back with me," Walker instructed.
Walker talks of how broke he is, but assures the friend that the hit man will be paid, and Walker wants to know where it's going to happen.
"If he's got to pop his (Thornton's) a** in his office, I don't give a f*** who he pops with it," Walker said.
The friend says the "hit man" probably wouldn't kill two people, and he urged Walker that anyone else in the office would be "somebody totally innocent."
"No, I'm talking about the staff," Walker replied.
With that, Walker exited the truck and asked the friend to have the "hit man" call him the next day.
In a separate audio recording, the undercover police officer (aka "hit man") called Walker and said the only thing they needed to discuss was the money.
"I normally get $10,000. $5,000 up front and $5,000 when it's done. You good with that?" he asked Walker.
"I think so, yes."
The "hit man" said he wanted Walker to drop $5,000 in a car that would be left for him in a Conway parking lot by 4:30 that afternoon, and Walker agreed.
"When this is all done ... I'll contact you with instructions on how we're going to arrange the last payment," the "hit man" told Walker.
"Excellent," Walker said.
"Okie dokie?" asked the "hit man."
"I appreciate it," Walker said before clicking off.
That afternoon, Walker showed up to the parking lot and dropped off a $5,000 in cash and checks, and within a day, he would be arrested for conspiracy to commit a felony.
Thornton was never harmed, but Walker was sentenced this past Monday to ten years in prison, suspended to three and ordered to five years probation.
Meanwhile, Walker's law license has been suspended, and it's likely he'll be disbarred over the coming months.