COVID-19 again delays murder trial of former JPS official accused of killing 2 women
The Parker County district attorney tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday, forcing again the postponement of the capital murder trial of a former John Peter Smith Hospital manager accused of killing two women in 2017 in Parker County when they tried to extort more money from him.
Parker County District Attorney Jeff Swain, one of the prosecutors in the cases, tested positive for the virus.
Jury selection was scheduled to begin Monday in the trial for 37-year-old Christopher Wall, and opening statements were set for Tuesday.
The trial in the 43rd District Court in Weatherford has not been rescheduled.
The trial was postponed in October when a participant in the case also contracted COVID-19.
Ashley Pohorence and Krista McClellan were shot to death in 2017 in a Willow Park bank parking lot as they tried to extort more money from Wall, according to a warrant.
Just the day before, McClellan and Sierra McMahan had extorted $8,000 from Wall, who was the director of behavioral health administration and quality at the Fort Worth hospital, after they convinced him that they had recorded him soliciting them for sex during a massage at his Fort Worth office, according to a warrant.
After the fatal shooting, Wall was arrested without incident at his parents’ home in Weatherford.
Wall is charged with capital murder of two people in the same criminal transaction. Prosecutors have waived the death penalty in the case.
If convicted of capital murder, Wall faces a sentence of life in prison without parole.
Wall also is charged with two counts of murder, one for each of the women he is accused of killing. If convicted of either one of those charges instead of capital murder, Wall faces a maximum of life in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
The warrant obtained by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in 2017 gave this account of the killings:
Wall had contacted the women for a massage on the social media site Backpage.com. McMahan and McClellan went to his JPS office.
It was on that day that the women got about $8,000 from Wall via extortion, according to the warrant.
After being contacted by the women, Wall supplied them the address of a Willow Park bank as a meeting place.
McMahan drove with the two women and stayed in a vehicle as Pohorence, 23, and McClellan, 21, got in a maroon vehicle with Wall. McClellan and Pohorence were from Arlington.
After a few minutes, McClellan and Pohorence began to hurriedly exit the maroon vehicle, and Wall got out and began shooting at them, according to the warrant. McMahan told police she drove to a convenience store across the street, and saw Wall drive away from the bank parking lot.
McMahan has not been arrested nor charged with any criminal activity stemming from the situation involving Wall, according to Parker County criminal court records.
After the shooting, a caller told a dispatcher there were two women shot in a Willow Park bank parking lot, authorities said.
The bodies were found in the parking lot of First Financial Bank in the 4100 block of Interstate 20.
Wall was the director of behavioral health administration and quality at John Peter Smith Hospital, a position he had held since July 2017, according to JPS records.
According to hospital records, the director of behavioral health administration and quality was under the direct supervision of the senior vice president/behavioral health administrator and collaborated with the director of psychiatric nursing. Wall’s job had administrative authority over the administrative and support staff, directing, monitoring, and evaluating the services provided while overseeing the day-to-day operations of the inpatient and ambulatory services.
This report contains information from Star-Telegram archives.