Coroner: Walker autopsy could be made public within a week

WARNER ROBINS — Results of the autopsy and toxicology report of the late Mayor Donald Walker could be made public within the next week.

Houston County Coroner Danny Galpin said he was told the files for Walker’s autopsy were on the desk of county Medical Examiner James Q. Whitaker. Usually when a file reaches Whitaker’s desk, it is about a week away from completion, Galpin said.

“Last I talked to (officials at the Pathology Institute of Middle Georgia), it was on his desk and he was supposed to be working on it this coming week,” Galpin said. “I can’t imagine why it would be much longer. There’s no other information he needs to complete it. Once they get to his desk, it’s there for final review.”

Walker was pronounced dead at The Medical Center of Central Georgia in Macon early on the afternoon of Sept. 28 after being injured by a single, self-inflicted gunshot wound. Walker, who had been mayor of Warner Robins since 1994, was in the middle of a re-election campaign.

The results of the mayor’s autopsy and toxicology report have taken more than five months. There is no average time it takes to complete an autopsy, Galpin said. Walker’s autopsy wasn’t prioritized by county officials, Galpin said, which would have pushed it to the head of the pack of outstanding reports to be completed. That determination goes mostly to homicide cases.

A lag in completing the report is usually because offices that do part of the work, including the GBI’s crime lab, are backlogged with other cases. As GBI offices lose analysts as the state tightens its budget, the lag has become even greater, Galpin said.

“Is it going to get better? No,” Galpin said of the amount of time it takes to get autopsy and toxicology results complete. “It’s going to get worse.”

To contact writer Marlon A. Walker, call 256-9685.