Gethry Walker spent Father's Day 2010 on the phone with the Smith County Sheriff's Office. He wanted to know if the partially burnt body found face down and discarded on the side of Oscar Burkett Road was that of his mentally-disabled, child-like daughter, Cherry Walker.

Tragically, it was.

Cherry, 39, had been learning to live more independently, with the help of a caregiver who would spend half the day with her. She had her small apartment, went to the bank and other errands, and took a babysitting job from Kimberly Cargill, even though her mental capacity was estimated to be that of a 9-year-old. Despite this, Cargill's 4-year-old son had better care from Cherry than he did his mother. Cargill's other children would go on to testify that Cargill would frequently, "choke, kick and hit them. They told jurors they often feared for their lives."

TX Dept. Criminal Justice, with edits
TX Dept. Criminal Justice, with edits
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Cherry was sweet and kind, clean and neat, and even spent her food stamps to feed Cargill's child. She would miss doctor and dentist appointments because Cargill was frequently late picking up her son.  She was completely innocent and totally without guile- and incapable of lying. That would become a problem for Cargill because Cherry was subpoenaed to testify in her upcoming child custody hearing. Cargill told Cherry that she would "hide" her so she wouldn't have to testify. Cargill, unlike Cherry, was capable of lying- and capable of murder.

The results of Cherry's autopsy would be unsatisfying. The method of her death was undetermined. Cherry's "eyes showed small bleeds that would be components of asphyxiation," however since she was found face down, it could not be determined if the position of her body caused the bleeds. Cargill would use this to claim that Cherry had died of a seizure, causing Cargill to panic and burn Cherry's body on the side of the road. It should be noted here that Cargill was a registered nurse at the time. What would a normal nurse do in these circumstances? Certainly not what Cargill did.

Even though the state could not determine the ultimate manner of Cherry's death, a jury did find Cargill guilty of capital murder, and Cargill was sentenced to death by lethal injection. She has sat on death row since and is currently 57 years old. Even though Cargill lost her Supreme Court appeal in 2010, she does not currently have a set execution date.

It remains to be seen in time or the needle gets her first.

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Gallery Credit: Tara Holley

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