A change in defense attorney has delayed a 2018 murder case that has, at different times, been set for a jury trial and for a guilty plea.
Marcia Jadonna Burchett, 29, remained in the Bell County Jail this week with bonds totaling $1.1 million on the first-degree felony murder charge and a third-degree felony charge of injury to a child, in an unrelated case from February 2018.
Burchett has been in jail since Nov. 9, 2018. Most recently, the case had been set for a plea in March but was reset.
She accused of fatally stabbing 29-year-old Heather Mae Walker 17 times on June 9, 2018.
During a remote hearing in the 426th Judicial District Court on Tuesday, Burchett’s defense attorney said that he needed to withdraw from the case.
“I have a job offer with the McLennan County District Attorney’s Office,” said Anthony Smith.
He said that Burchett has been made aware of the state’s plea bargain offer.
Smith was a court-appointed attorney in the case.
“Pretrial services will appoint another attorney to represent you,” said Judge Fancy Jezek.
Three motions have been filed in the case so far, with two of them regarding the change of attorney.
The first motion filed, which was received by the District Clerk’s office on Sept. 3, 2019, was a hand-written motion by Burchett to be released from jail.
The “motion for release because of delay” requested that the court grant her an opportunity for a personal recognizance bond or to “reduce the amount of bail to set a fair and reasonable amount which can easily be paid by the defendant.”
Court records showed that the court did not grant that motion.
Walker, originally from Washington, was an Army veteran with four children. She recently had left the military and decided to move her family to Texas, according to her friends in a previous Herald story on June 22, 2018.
On the afternoon June 9, 2018, Killeen police were dispatched to a residence in the 2800 block of Phoenix Drive in reference to a person not breathing, according to the arrest affidavit.
Upon arrival, officers found Walker dead in her second-floor bedroom with visible stab wounds, and police noticed Walker’s window was partially open.
Police used surveillance video to identify Burchett as a suspect. Police then obtained her bank records and observed she purchased a plane ticket and traveled to Texas from New York on June 8, one day prior to the murder.
Police also obtained car rental records and say Burchett rented a black Chevrolet Malibu from a rental agency in Dallas.
Burchett rented a motel room in Killeen the night of June 8, 2018. Police also said she purchased a ladder at a Killeen store, which she used to enter Walker’s bedroom.
Surveillance video showed a vehicle matching the description of the Burchett’s rental car parking around the corner and down the street from Walker’s residence, and a figure exiting the vehicle carrying a ladder during the early morning hours of June 9.
Burchett told police she went to Walker’s house to kill herself in front of Walker, according to the affidavit. Walker apparently attempted to stop Burchett from killing herself when the two began fighting over the knife. Police said then say that’s when Burchett stabbed Walker.
Burchett also pleaded guilty to injury to a child stemming from an incident when she threw her child at her ex-boyfriend twice, according to the arrest affidavit.