Cherokee County DA Files Charges In 2007 Christmas Day Murders
CHEROKEE COUNTY, Oklahoma - Charges have been filed in the 2007 Christmas Day murders of Jack and Elaine Denney.
The Cherokee County District Attorney Jack Thorp confirmed Friday the Oklahoma multi-county grand jury recommended charges earlier this week against Justin James Walker.
More than a decade after a Cherokee County couple was found dead on Christmas morning, their children and grandchildren are one step closer to justice.
Investigators said it was never a cold case, but rather, an old case. They said one very specific tip from one person is what caused a breakthrough in the case.
"My parents were wonderful people. They deserve justice," said Jack and Elaine Denney’s daughter, Sarah Keener. "They were best friends in high school and then, at some, whatever point, they fell in love," Keener said.
Walker, who the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office said became a suspect within a month of the 2007 murders, is now charged in each of their deaths.
He was already in prison on unrelated charges.
"There was no reason whatsoever to kill Jack and Elaine Denney,” Cherokee County District Attorney Jack Thorp said.
What isn't clear is a motive.
Keener said she's never heard of Walker and their family doesn't have any connection to him.
Investigators said the deaths were a result of a robbery and believe it's possible Walker did not act alone.
Keener, her husband Ladney, along with their three children discovered her parents were dead when they came over to exchange gifts on Christmas morning.
"We have new traditions that we do. Part of our Christmas Eve is going out to the cemetery and taking flowers to my parents' grave," she said.
Lindsey was just nine years old when her grandparents died. As she and her parents stand strong and hold hands, they also cling to their good memories.
"Just listening to jokes that she might tell, watching my dad read the paper on Sunday and then falling asleep in his chair," Keener said.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation at (800) 522-8017. The Cherokee County Sheriff's Office at 918-456-2583. Or the District 27 District Attorney Cold Case Hotline at 918-772-7568.