Steuernagel’s son arraigned in court

Jenna Staul

Prosecutors will take the attempted murder charges against Sky Walker, 18, back to a grand jury for consideration. Walker, who is autistic, is charged with beating his mother, political science professor Gertrude Steuernagel. She died Friday night.

He was arraigned yesterday in the Portage County Court of Common Pleas on two counts of attempted murder and assault of a law enforcement officer.

Judge John Enlow ordered Walker to undergo a competency and IQ evaluation within 30 days to be performed by the Summit County Psycho-Diagnostic Clinic. He is being held on $2 million bond.

Walker appeared at the arraignment over a video feed from the Portage County Jail. He was seated in a wheelchair, wearing a nylon and mesh spit mask, which according the Portage County Sheriff’s office, is often put on inmates who become violent. He appeared agitated, thrashing his head back and forth as two officers held him.

Police found Steuernagel beaten in the kitchen of her Franklin Township home Jan. 29. She was hospitalized last week at Akron City Hospital.

An autopsy was completed Monday, but no cause of death was determined, said Gary Guenther, an investigator with the Summit County Medical Examiner’s Office. Guenther said Steuernagel had bruises on her head and chest, and further testing is pending.

Walker is held by himself in a holding room in the Portage County Jail where officers can monitor his behavior, according to Maj. Dennis Missimi of the Portage County Sheriff’s Office. He is evaluated every other day by the jail’s nursing staff.

Walker’s attorney, Mark Stanton, declined to comment following the arraignment.

Contact public affairs reporter Jenna Staul at [email protected].