One Victim, One Scarred Family Paul Walker's Skull Was Cracked Outside A Fraternity House At Wcu. The Incident Changed A Lot Of Lives.

Posted: August 21, 1994

WEST CHESTER — Every day, they go to the same corner room on the second floor of the Bryn

Mawr Rehabilitation Center. They sit beside the same bed, peer out the same

window past the same inflatable Spiderman, and try to coax a little more life into a man whose mind will never be the same.

They've done this for more than a year, ever since a late-night street confrontation cracked Paul Walker's skull.

For more than a year, members of the Walker family have bent their lives around their injured brother and son. They've fed him, dressed him and washed him. They've exercised muscles to prevent atrophy, and they've searched for signs of the energetic, outgoing Paul they once knew.

They're still searching. It will be months before they see any signs of improvement from the brain surgery Paul Walker underwent Thursday. And the doctors aren't holding out much hope.

All this because of a confrontation outside a West Chester University fraternity house.

"I want these people to realize that they're not responsible for just a simple act of violence to one person," said Brett, one of nine Walker siblings (Paul, 31, and his twin brother, Pete, are the youngest). "I want the people to realize that they're responsible for changing so many lives forever."

Court records say West Chester police officers found Paul Walker at about 1 a.m. on July 23, 1993, lying unconscious outside the Sigma Pi fraternity house at 701 E. Walnut St. At the hospital, doctors said Walker had a fractured skull and his brain was bleeding. He wasn't expected to last the day.

Later, residents and friends of people living at the off-campus fraternity house told police that they had noticed Walker staring at a group of them as they sat on the front porch. When challenged as to what he was looking at, the witnesses said Walker became confrontational.

It's after that that facts become scarce.

"The whole situation is difficult to evaluate," said Assistant District Attorney Joseph Carroll, who is prosecuting the case. "It's very clear to me when I talk to these people that their friendship with Mr. (Andrew James) Cox is getting in the way of them telling the truth. I'm getting partial truths, I think. I think I'm getting some convenient lapses in memory."

According to the witnesses, Walker was big and menacingly muscle-bound when he accosted the group on the porch and began picking a fight. Egos were ruffled. Everybody had been drinking. Shoves were exchanged.

Cox, a 21-year-old West Chester University student and Sigma Pi member, said he then threw a punch that struck Walker on the left side of his head, knocking him backward and causing him to strike his head on the street.

Cox is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday in Chester County Court on charges of assault, aggravated assault and reckless endangerment. His defense, said attorney Samuel Stretton, is that he hit Walker out of fear that Walker would hit him.

"We contend that there was no criminal liability there," Stretton said. ''Young people tend to think they're immortal. This is a case where someone is feeling his oats, acting in a very obnoxious way, and he got seriously injured. . . .

"You don't have a right in this world just because you're bigger than someone to act like you're king of the hill."

But Paul Walker's family members say they have a hard time believing that the 180-pounder would be that belligerent with anyone.

Paul Walker was preparing to start a new job, they said. He had returned

from Alabama to be among family. He was visiting old friends. There was no reason for him to be a nasty drunk, they said.

And they have unanswered questions: How could Paul Walker have been a realistic threat if, according to court testimony, he was found unconscious with his hands in his pockets?

And how could a single blow with a fist cause the massive trauma that Walker sustained? Family members say a Philadelphia doctor has raised questions about Cox's version of how the injury was suffered. The doctor could not be reached for comment.

Carroll said that law enforcement officials have no plans to pursue charges against anyone else.

For the Walkers, the incident has been life-changing.

"The old Paul Walker is dead," Brett said of his brother. "This is a part of the old Paul Walker that we're going to try to keep alive."

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