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Decatur man sentenced to probation, anger management, after burning child, 9, as punishment

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Jonathan J. Walker


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DECATUR — Jonathan J. Walker, who punished a 9-year-old boy’s misbehavior by whipping him with a leather belt and burning his arm with the heated tip of a cigarette lighter, was sentenced to 12 months probation Thursday.

Walker, 29, appeared in Macon County Circuit Court and took a plea deal negotiated by his public defender, Michelle Sanders. He pleaded guilty to one count of battery, amended down from aggravated battery, and to one count of domestic battery. A second domestic battery charge was dismissed.

Assistant State’s Attorney Christina Mullison said the charges date to May 12 when Walker was at home with his 25-year-old girlfriend, with whom he has two children, including a 2-year-old boy.

A sworn Decatur police affidavit from the case said Walker had become angry when he found out the girlfriend’s 9-year-old son had been playing with a lighter and accidentally burned the face of the 2-year-old. The girlfriend said Walker had whipped the older boy across the buttocks with a belt and used the heated lighter to inflict more pain on the child.

Police Officer Zachary Wakeland, quoting the boy, said in the affidavit: “Jonathan held the flame to make the top of the lighter hot, then pressed it on his arm.” Wakeland added: “I observed a raised red burn, which is in the shape of the top of a lighter, on the tricep area of (the boy’s) right arm.”

The girlfriend said she had told Walker he had taken the punishment too far and she said he had shoved her face with an open hand, scratching her cheek, and refused to let her leave with the children.

Passing sentence, Judge Thomas Griffith said that, in addition to the probation, Walker will “cooperate with any Department of Children and Family Services recommendations” after DCFS was called in to protect the children. Walker must also register publicly for 10 years in accordance with the rules of the Violent Offender Against Youth Act. In addition, he must complete a training that teaches anger management and coping skills.

Walker, who has been held in custody, was then ordered released by the judge.

2019 mug shots from the Herald & Review 

Contact Tony Reid at (217) 421-7977. Follow him on Twitter: @TonyJReid


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