CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) — Judge Don Poole heard arguments in Johnthony Walker’s case today.
Walker was behind the wheel November 21, 2016, when a Woodmore Elementary School bus crashed, killing six children.
Three witnesses for the state testified regarding Walker’s previous behavior.
Some say they saw him driving recklessly prior to the crash. Others recall hearing him cussing at the kids.
But Judge Poole says its too early to tell if Walker’s relationship with the students will be relevant to the case.
“The interaction of this defendant with the students, I think it’s a very difficult time to determine how that could be relevant for any purpose on the day that this incident occurred,” Judge Poole said.
Today, the prosecution also agreed to not use cell phone records prior to the crash date, unless something becomes relevant.
Another preliminary hearing is scheduled for February 19th. After that, the court will head to Clarksville to choose a jury before the trial on February 27th.
“There’s been enough tragedy, enough heart ache. And I appreciate everybody’s behavior in court today. And let’s let that continue as you leave the courtroom, and continue as we get up to the trial. The case should be decided in the courtroom, and that’s the only way it should be decided,” Judge Poole said.
Walker and his attorney declined to comment after the hearing.