Text messages tell Mark Walton's side of the story

By: Andy Slater

You may have seen the police reports. Now, you get to hear about text messages allegedly exchanged between Miami Hurricanes running back Mark Walton and his accuser.

After exclusively sitting down on Thursday with Walton's attorney, Ricky Patel, I was shown the alleged text exchange between the accuser and Walton. The phone number listed on the text message thread did match the accuser's phone number listed on the police incident report. 

Last week, I raised questions about the alleged incident and began to wonder if it was possible that Walton could have been setup.

As I reported on April 23, multiple sources confirmed to me that Walton is the suspect who's listed as "Salomon" on the Miami police incident report. The accuser told police the suspect was impersonating a cop, pulled her over, and groped her. Patel said that's far from the truth.

"Mark Walton was the victim here," Patel told me on Thursday.

This is where the story gets bizarre.

The alleged text exchange between Walton and his accuser begins Friday night, April 22, just before 11pm --- That's seven hours after the accuser told police about the alleged incident and about four hours before Walton was arrested.

In the text messages that I was shown, Walton's accuser starts by thanking him for making sure she got home in the early morning hours of April 21. She then tells Walton he should swing by her house. 

After reading many more messages, there was one common theme: Walton's accuser wanted him to come over and quickly.

From what I saw, there were times she wrote to Walton that she was home alone and for him to hurry because she was going to fall asleep. Walton told her to take an Uber to his place and he'd have a driver take them out from there. She said no.

As time went by, Emojis and more messages came from the accuser's phone asking where Walton was since he had not shown up yet.

Just after 3am on April 23, Walton sent his accuser a text saying he had arrived. That was the last text sent. Minutes later, Walton was arrested. 

Walton pled not guilty to the DUI charge and knowingly driving with a suspended license charge on Thursday morning, but was he baited into the entire situation?

"Mark was helping this girl on the side of the road, not harming her," Patel said.

Walton was suspended indefinitely by the University of Miami after the arrest, but I've learned he will be reinstated by the team after the athletic department began to gather more information.

The rest of the story? It appears far from over. 

"They're [State Attorney's Office] actually going to put the officers under sworn testimony in order to determine how to proceed forward," Walton's other attorney Joey McCall said.

The accuser's attorney has been asked to comment, but is yet to respond.

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(Photo: Miami Herald)