Photo of Jack and Elaine Denney

March 28, 2019 – Thorp announces plea agreement in cold case double murder

Jack Thorp announces plea agreement in Cherokee County Cold Case Double Murder

Thursday, March 28, 2019, Tahlequah, Okla. – One of the biggest mysteries in Cherokee County was solved today in the Cherokee County Courthouse.

Justin Walker, 33, pled guilty to the murders of Jack and Elaine Denney,  discovered on Christmas Day 2007.  Walker will serve 40 years in prison on the amended charge of murder in the second degree.  That sentence will begin when Walker completes a 10-year federal sentence for an unrelated conviction.

The Denney family listened as Walker admitted to fatally shooting Jack and Elaine Denney, then as he accepted the 40-year sentence from Cherokee County District Judge Douglas Kirkley.

Following the sentence, Walker was escorted out of the courtroom and transported back to the custody of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections.

“The Denney family and law enforcement never gave up hope,” said Thorp.  “The Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office, Jason Chennault, and Vicky Lyons and Dale Fine of the OSBI continued working the case to final resolution – for over 10 years they kept the faith, and I am so proud of their efforts.”

Thorp said delivering justice to the Denneys and other families makes his job the best job in the world.

“What a great day for justice!” exclaimed Thorp about finally finding closure for the Denneys, thanks in part to an anonymous tip to the OSBI.

Thanks to the cooperation of Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter and the state’s multicounty grand jury, the information was used to indict Walker in March of 2018.  Following the indictment, Walker’s case was transferred back to Cherokee County.

“Now, Walker will spend nearly 50 years in prison, and our prayer is that the family of Jack and Elaine Denney will find some closure to the terrible tragedy of Christmas, 2007,” said Thorp.


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