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Probable cause hearing for Walker today

LAWRENCEVILLE - A probable cause hearing is scheduled for today for a Duluth man accused of threatening to kill Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter.

Robert Ashley Walker is expected to appear before a Gwinnett County Magistrate judge to determine whether charges against him should be dropped or forwarded to Superior Court for prosecution. A judge may also decide to let Walker out of jail on bond.

The hearing was initially scheduled for Wednesday. It was postponed one day at the request of the prosecutor, an assistant district attorney called in from Fulton County to handle the case, said Walker's attorney, Rob Greenwald.

An independent prosecutor was appointed because there is a conflict of interest with Porter's office prosecuting any case in which he is the alleged victim, Porter said.

Walker, 44, faces charges of terroristic threats and intimidation of a court officer, and if convicted on both counts he could face up to 10 years in prison.

He was at a March 23 meeting with his probation officer when he learned that two guns and a knife worth $2,000 had accidentally been destroyed instead of being returned to him as a judge ordered.

Walker is a member of the National Rifle Association who believes strongly in the right to bear arms, according to his wife, Denise Walker. In his anger, Walker is accused of spouting off a litany of threats to the probation officer. He then had a telephone conversation with someone who is "a member of the criminal justice system" in which he allegedly continued to make menacing remarks.

"The threat made to Danny was that he would get his guns and then go and slit Danny Porter's throat," said Assistant District Attorney Dan Mayfield. "He also made generalized threats that blood would spill and he would fill body bags and there would be bodies in the street."

Denice Walker said her husband's remarks were made in the heat of the moment and subsequently blown out of proportion by police.