A house on Caddo Street that was the site of the high-profile murder of a city code enforcement officer is being demolished by the city after decades of violations and push from family and community members.
The home at 1509 Caddo Street in Commerce has been a sore spot for many in the community ever since the events of June 13, 2005, when Michael “Pee Wee” Walker approached the home to take photos of code violations at the property. Some reports allege the house to have been in violation of code since the early 90s, with no thorough action being taken.
Walker was confronted by Adam Kelly Ward, one of the residents, and an argument ensued. When Walker attempted to call 911, Ward shot Walker as many as nine times. Michael’s father Dick Walker, the former co-owner of Jones-Walker & Son Funeral Home in Commerce, worked with the Commerce Emergency Corps as a volunteer at the time and was one of the first to arrive on the scene as an emergency responder.
Ward was convicted of capital murder in 2007 and sentenced to death by lethal injection. He was executed by the state on March 22, 2016 in Huntsville, Texas.
Many members of the family have fought in the courtroom and in the public for something to be done about the home. Dick Walker spoke with KLTV in 2016 and was adamant that something had to be done.
“When is something going to be done about this house to legitimize my son’s death? Because at this point, he died for nothing,” Dick said in the interview.
Hunt County Appraisal District records show the property ownership transferring away from the Ward family in 2016. On Aug. 8 of this year, the property was acquired by the City of Commerce.
At the Commerce City Council meeting on Sept. 17, it was announced that the home, which has sat dilapidated throughout this entire saga, would be demolished on Oct. 4 at 10 a.m.
Sadly, Dick Walker would be unable to see the demolition, as the long-time funeral director passed away in 2017.
Hunt County Court at Law #2 Judge F. Duncan Thomas, who was the District Attorney and a part of the prosecution team in the Ward case, said that the whole affair was “a tragedy for all families involved,” and that he doesn’t think the pain will truly go away as the house is turned to dust.
“I don’t think you ever truly stop grieving,” Thomas said. “The destruction of a house doesn’t outweigh the destruction of a life.”
Michael Walker had two children, Donovan and Marissa, and the Commerce Journal caught up with them to get their thoughts on the demolition.
“I don’t have much to say other than it took them long enough,” Donovan said. “I am glad it is finally happening. This is something we can put behind us.”
“I feel like it’s very overdue,” Marissa said. “I feel like my dad can finally be put to rest.”