DALLAS (CBS11 I-TEAM) – In 2014, Amy Wilburn became the first Dallas police officer to be indicted for shooting a suspect in more than four decades.
Four years later, the case still hasn’t gone to trial. Nor has the former officer had to attend pretrial hearings.
After being fired from her job as a police officer, according to the Texas Medical Board, Wilburn started a new career as a licensed x-ray technician.
Meanwhile, the young man she shot said his life has been put on hold due to medical complications from the shooting and a pending civil case.
Kelvion Walker, then 19, was a passenger in a suspected stolen car Wilburn and her partner were attempting to pull over. The driver jumped out of the moving car and ran. Walker remained inside with his seat belt on.
Wilburn rushed to the car, which was still moving, and opened the driver-side door, saw Walker in the passenger seat, pulled her gun, and fired one shot. Walker was unarmed. A witness at the scene told investigators Walker also had his hands up when the officer shot him.
The senior corporal was fired by former Police Chief David Brown shortly after the December 2013 shooting.
Four months later, Wilburn was charged with felony aggravated assault by a public servant. It was the first time a Dallas County grand jury had indicted a DPD officer in connection with an on-duty police shooting since 1973.
Wilburn posted bond in April 2014 and has been out awaiting trial ever since.
Walker, meanwhile, has undergone three major surgeries and racked up more than $300,000 in medical bills as a result of being shot in the stomach.
“It’s tough,” Walker told the CBS 11 News I-Team. “It’s real tough, financially, physically, and mentally.”
His civil suit against Wilburn was put on hold in 2015 pending the outcome of the criminal case. But earlier this year, the judge lifted the stay on the civil case. It is scheduled to go to trial in August.
“This man’s life has continued to be on hold for something that occurred in December of 2013,” said Geoff Henley, Walker’s attorney. “Kelvion has a life to lead. He has outstanding medical bills.”
Henley also said he believes the passage of time will benefit Wilburn’s chance of an acquittal in criminal court. Wilburn’s trial date in the criminal case has been delayed five times.
In court filings, Robert Rogers, Wilburn’s criminal attorney, blamed the delays on “scheduling conflicts” and called the number of trial resets “standard for felony criminal cases in Dallas County.”
State District Judge Carter Thompson is presiding over the criminal case. Courtroom rules posted on his website state anything beyond three delays is on a “case by case basis.”
A CBS 11 I-Team analysis of Dallas County criminal court records found that 98 percent of all felony indictments from April 2014 (the month of Wilburn’s indictment) have been resolved. The remaining two percent of cases have not been heard because the defendants are fugitives or already behind bars on other charges.
Court records also show Wilburn has not been required to personally attend any of the pre-trail hearings. Judge Thompson has waived her appearance at least 26 times.
The judge’s written courtroom policy states, “… the presence of the defendant can be waived.”
However, criminal defense attorney Nicole Knox said it is unusual for a judge to do so.
“All my clients are required to show up for court,” Knox told CBS 11 News.
Knox said there’s an appearance that Wilburn is receiving special treatment.
“You want to avoid the appearance of any kind of impropriety,” she said. “We are dealing with police officers in a day and age where citizens don’t trust police officers. I think anything to feed that notion is a pretty slippery slope here.”
Judge Thompson declined the I-Team’s request for an interview and referred all questions to special prosecutor, Thomas D’Amore.
D’Amore, who was appointed the case in 2015 after former Dallas District Attorney Susan Hawk recused herself, said this case needs to go to trail and he’s “fully ready” to try it.
The Dallas Police Association typically covers legal expenses to defend an officer in criminal court.