Four charged in murder of Cleveland firefighter plead not guilty

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William WalkerCLEVELAND, Ohio — Four suspects indicted in the murder of Cleveland firefighter William Walker pleaded not guilty in court Thursday.

Uloma Walker-Curry, 44; Chad X. Padgett, 21; Christopher N. Hein, 22; and Ryan L. Dorty, 23, are charged with aggravated murder, murder, conspiracy and felonious assault. A juvenile is also listed as a co-conspirator.

Each pleaded not guilty, and a $1 million bond was set or continued for each of them.

Walker-Curry, the victim’s wife, was arrested on Sept. 8 while Padgett was taken into custody last month.

On Nov. 3, 2013, Lt. Walker, 45, was shot and killed in the driveway of his house on Lampson Road in Cleveland. According to prosecutors, investigators thought his murder was tied to neighborhood drug dealers, but they later learned Walker’s widow planted that idea.

Prosecutors said Walker’s wife committed financial fraud in his name and was worried he would find out, so she planned to get his life insurance policy. She asked Padgett, 21, and the juvenile to find a hitman to kill Walker, prosecutors said.

Padgett recruited his cousin, Hein, who then hired Dorty for the hit. According to the prosecutor’s office, Padgett supplied the gun and the cash, while providing details on where and when to kill the firefighter.

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