By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
But then, knowing how low the flame burns in their brains, Irvin's lawyers probably don't know she isn't the couple's daughter. (Hell, they're too busy trying to keep track of how many girlfriends their client has.) Plus, Irvin doesn't care, anyway--which is the point, of course. Clearly, his brushes with the law amuse him. Why else would he make his big speech about flying off to Miami to make things up to his God-given, publicly humiliated wife only to show up four days later at a Fort Lauderdale topless club, as KTVT-TV Channel 11 so nicely reported that week?
It's a Michael Irvin we are coming to know so well.
Irvin was just as cocky when the state Attorney General's Office filed its paternity suit against him on April 10, 1990. Six weeks earlier, a 25-year-old woman named Felicia Paulette Walker had given birth to his daughter, Myesha, whom he had absolutely no intention of supporting. In fact, after hiring a top-notch lawyer with the downtown Dallas law firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, Irvin flatly denied, in an answer he filed with the court on June 8, 1990, that he was the father, and challenged the attorney general to prove otherwise.
Two weeks later, Irvin married his current wife, Sandy Harrell, in Florida.
But blood tests tell no lies--unless you're O.J., of course--so Walker's lawsuit, which dragged on for two years, eventually resulted in a court-ordered $210,000 trust fund for the girl. Myesha currently receives $1,250 a month in interest payments from her trust, which will vest in her name one day before she turns 18 years old.
The terms of the settlement--laid out in a decidedly unjuicy, 19-page court ruling dated March 23, 1992--were recently divulged in this paper and The Dallas Morning News in light of Irvin's legal troubles. The eye-opening details behind the ruling, however, are contained in a three-volume court file that I summoned last week from the archives of the Dallas County District Clerk's Office.
Walker was no one-motel-night-stand friend of Irvin's. A document in the court file states that the "parents of the child are separated," and it's clear that the two stayed in contact while Walker was pregnant with their child. Theirs was apparently not a very amicable relationship by that point.
In a series of written questions that Irvin's lawyers wanted answered for the lawsuit, Walker was asked if Irvin had ever "physically or psychologically abused you or Myesha Beyonca Irvin."
This was the answer as prepared by Walker's lawyers: "At one point during her pregnancy, [Walker] requested that [Irvin] provide funds in order that she could purchase groceries. [Irvin] cursed [Walker] and refused...[Irvin] has publically [sic] insulted and humiliated [Walker] by calling her profane names, such as 'bitch,' in a mall in the presence of other people, and has continually demonstrated total disregard and disrespect for [Walker.]...[Irvin] has on several occasions since 1989 called [Walker] on the phone and cursed her."
Unlike Irvin's more recent sexual companions, i.e. The Dancers, Walker was fairly conventional, working in the somewhat less exotic health-care profession, according to court records. A 1983 graduate of South Oak Cliff High School, Walker attended Bishop College for a year, and at the time she got pregnant with Irvin's child was working as a $17,000-a-year medical assistant for Dallas County's Mental Health/Mental Retardation Center and taking nursing classes at El Centro Community College.
Court records show that in March 1991 Walker was terminated from her MHMR job, which she'd had for three and a half years, "due to excessive absences for child surgery and illness," according to Walker. (Myesha apparently suffered chronic ear infections as a baby and finally had tubes surgically implanted in her ears--a procedure that was performed at Doctors Hospital near White Rock Lake a month after her mother lost her job.)
That spring was not a particularly good time for Walker. Her paternity case against Irvin had been dragging on for a year, and although the results of a court-ordered blood test had been released to all the parties back in September 1990--concluding that the probability of Irvin being the father was 99.5 percent--Walker still wasn't getting any kind of support from Irvin, nor was Irvin being ordered to pay her legal fees or the baby's medical bills.
A temporary support hearing was finally ordered for March 1, but the day before the hearing, Irvin's lawyers filed a motion requesting that the hearing be postponed and that Irvin be allowed to undergo a second blood test "due to what [Irvin] believes was an irregularity in the first paternity testing procedure."
Irvin got his new blood test (which had the same result as the first), and Walker got her temporary support, too--$1,900 a month, plus full medical and dental coverage for Myesha, who was placed by court order on Irvin's health insurance plan with the Cowboys.
When it became inevitable that Irvin was going to have to own up to his responsibilities to his child, Walker was asked to explain in writing why she should get custody of Myesha.
"[Irvin] is currently employed with the Dallas Cowboys," stated the answer to Interrogatory No. 20, a part of the court file. "He plays a starting position which requires him to travel with the team. Additionally, [Irvin] recently married and is attempting to start a new life with his new wife. [Walker] believes that the additional responsibility of caring for an infant child, who is the product of a previous relationship, would be a detrimental strain on [Irvin's] marital relationship. [Walker] does not believe this would be in the child's best interest."