SALT LAKE CITY -- A man charged with the murder of a Utah police officer couldn't make his first court appearance Monday because he's still suffering from self-inflicted gun wounds, but the girlfriend he also shot that day was there on separate charges.
Timothy Walker, 34, is charged with aggravated murder for the Sept. 1 fatal shooting of Draper police Sgt. Derek Johnson, 32. Prosecutors say he also shot his girlfriend, Traci Vaillancourt, 34, before turning the gun on himself.
Walker's attorneys said he didn't make the trip from jail to court Monday at their recommendation because of his health. His jail photo shows him with a medical apparatus on his jaw, presumably caused by shooting himself. He will instead make his first court appearance Oct. 8 in West Jordan -- closer to the suburb of Draper where the shooting occurred.
That's when Vaillancourt will be back in court, too.
She was in a wheelchair carrying an oxygen tank Monday during her appearance on obstruction of justice charges. She was shot in the back and is considered a victim in the shooting, but prosecutors charged her after they say she gave misleading statements about what happened that day.
Her attorney, Ryan Holtan, said Monday after the brief hearing that Vaillancourt will plead not guilty to the obstruction of justice charges. He said she's the victim and never intended to mislead investigators, adding that her memory of the traumatic and chaotic events isn't good.
"She was shot by somebody who is a terrible person," Holtan. "He killed a police officer. That is absolutely reprehensible. She is another victim in that case."
Charging documents show that Johnson had stopped on Sept. 1 to check out a Volvo that had a flat tire and had run out of gas. Walker was standing outside of the car along with Vaillancourt when Johnson pulled up in his patrol car and lowered his passenger side window.
That's when Walker shot Johnson in the chest, documents show. As Johnson accelerated in his patrol car, Walker shot him three more times.
Toxicology reports show Walker had methamphetamine in his blood.
Johnson was the first officer killed in the 11-year history of the Draper police department. He became a full-time officer in Draper in 2004 and was promoted to sergeant in 2012. He leaves behind a wife and young son.
Vaillancourt's sister, Victoria King, said it was hard to see her sister in court Monday-- the first time since the shooting. She said she loves her sister, but doesn't like the choices she's made. She said she's still going through an array of emotions including sadness and anger.
"My heart still bleeds for the Johnson family," said King, while adding, "It hurts to see her like that."
King, who saw the couple the day before the shooting and says they were acting erratically, hoped to see Walker on Monday but said he "cowardly" didn't show.