Federal child sexual exploitation trial rescheduled for Derrick Walker

A federal child sexual exploitation trial for Derrick Stephen Walker, 45, of Minot, has been rescheduled for Dec. 14 in Bismarck before Judge Daniel Hovland.

The trial had originally been scheduled to begin Sept. 20 but Walker’s defense lawyer, Ryan Sandberg, said in a court filing that he had just received additional discovery in the case on Sept. 2 and needs more time to prepare.

Earlier this month, Judge Hovland had denied a prior motion from the defense to continue the trial because Walker was being held in a federal prison in Akron, Colo., and it was difficult for Sandberg to meet with him to discuss the defense. Hovland had noted in his order denying the request that Walker’s trial has already been rescheduled five times and said at the time that further delay was not warranted. But after new discovery came to light, Hovland granted a second motion on Sept. 9 to continue the trial. According to court documents, Hovland has also ordered that Walker be transferred to a prison that is closer so it will be easier for Sandberg to meet with him. Walker is currently in custody at the Ward County Jail in Minot.

Walker’s co-defendant, Katie Heidinger, 31, from Velva, had earlier accepted a plea deal that calls for her to serve 30 years in prison, followed by 10 years of supervised probation. Her sentencing was delayed due to Walker’s upcoming trial. Sentencing for Heidinger is currently scheduled for Oct. 13 in U.S. District Court in Bismarck.

Both Walker and Heidinger had originally been charged in state court but those cases were dismissed when the indictments were handed down in federal court. Heidinger had been charged in state court in McHenry County with sexually abusing three small children, taking video recordings and still images of the abuse on her cell phone and sending the images to Walker via SnapChat between August 2019 and January 2020. Walker had also allegedly asked a second woman, Katrina Huston, 34, for illegal images of teenage girls. Huston sent the video to Walker and was added to a SnapChat group chat with Walker and Heidinger and saw them exchange child pornography. Huston told authorities that didn’t participate and had stopped communicating with Walker when he asked to have sex with teenage girls. The additional discovery provided to Sandberg for the federal case involves information from Huston’s phone.

Huston, from Ryder, was sentenced in May in district court in Minot to 20 years in prison, with all suspended but the 130 days she has already served in jail, and 10 years of supervised probation for Class A felony gross sexual imposition.


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