Higher bond rejected in drunken driving fatality case

Sean Barrett Walker makes his first appearance before a judge at the Douglas County Jail hearing room on an involuntary manslaughter charge related to a 2010 fatality accident on Clinton Parkway that killed 19-year-old Mary Grace Paez.

Douglas County prosecutors on Wednesday were unsuccessful in securing a higher bond for a 23-year-old Overland Park man who faces an involuntary manslaughter charge related to a 2010 deadly crash in west Lawrence.

During a first appearance, Pro-tem Judge James George agreed to keep Sean Barrett Walker’s bond at $25,000 in the case after another judge had approved the amount while signing a warrant months ago.

Prosecutors accuse Walker of driving drunk early on Oct. 14, 2010, while heading west on Clinton Parkway and striking a southbound car driven by Mary Grace Paez, 19, of Lawrence. Paez died at the scene; according to a police report, Walker’s blood-alcohol content after the crash was 0.23, nearly three times the state’s legal limit.

Paez’s toxicology test in her autopsy was negative for alcohol or drugs

Prosecutors charged Walker with involuntary manslaughter while driving under the influence of alcohol and two traffic infractions of speeding and violating a flashing traffic signal.

Walker has recently spent time in prison related to a probation violation for an unrelated 2006 attempted robbery case in Johnson County, so he was brought to Lawrence on Tuesday to face charges for Paez’s death.

Eve Kemple, an assistant district attorney, on Wednesday asked for a $100,000 bond because she said Walker had no ties to Douglas County and prosecutors believed he faced a 75-month prison sentence because of his past criminal history.

“He’s facing substantial prison time if convicted in this case,” she said.

Walker had asked George to keep his bond the same.

“I have a job lined up. I have an address in Johnson County. I’ve never had any failures to appear (in court),” he said.

Walker, who said he would hire his own attorney, is next due in court next Wednesday in front of Douglas County District Judge Michael Malone.