Life sentence for man who murdered Virginia State Trooper

Posted at 1:40 PM, Aug 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-03 17:49:20-04

DINWIDDIE COUNTY, Va. – A jury recommended that Russell Brown get a life prison sentence without the possibility of parole the murder of Virginia State Master Trooper Junius Walker, on Interstate 85 in March 2013.

Brown was found guilty of capital murder on July 28, after a three-week trial. Dinwiddie County Commonwealth's Attorney Ann Baskervill said her office planned to pursue the death penalty against Brown.

Jurors were asked to choose between sentencing Brown to death or to life in prison without parole.

Russell Brown's defense attorney Jacqueline Reiner said she is grateful for the jury’s consideration in her client’s case.

“There is a lot of evidence that is been heard over the last month regarding the [Brown] family's mental health issues, the family's domestic circumstances," she said.

The 31-year-old was found guilty of six felony charges: capital murder of a law enforcement officer, attempted capital murder of a law officer, three counts of use of a firearm in commission of a felony, and attempted murder.

Sentences for the remaining charges have not yet been determined.

CBS 6 reporter Jake Burns spoke with Clarissa Walker-Owen, Trooper Walker's daughter, on her feeling after the life sentence recommendation Wednesday.

"I can't see my father anymore,” Walker said. “My child and her children cannot see their grandfather, and I don't believe his family should have that right either. That is a knife to my heart. It hurts.”

Elizabeth Walker, Trooper Walker's wife, said she is thankful justice has finally been served.

“We've waited a long time for that and what we all wanted was justice for Walker. Even though [Brown] didn't get the death penalty he will never see the light of day again. That is comforting. He can rot," she added.

Elizabeth also thanked the community for their support during this difficult time.

"The support that we got when Walker was first killed just blew us away. We know that the police and the community are always going to be here for us," she said.

When asked about whether they thought Brown felt remorse for killing Walker, Clarissa said “Absolutely not…. The only remorse he had was that his grandfather died when he was locked up for the crime, the slaughter, of killing Master Trooper Junius Walker. That was his only regret… and that's just ridiculous.”

Reiner said she believes her client is sorry for his actions in March of 2013.

"[Brown]'s very regretful for the whole circumstance. The whole circumstance is tragic,” she said. “It's tragic for the Walker family. It's absolutely tragic for the Brown family. There some of the nicest folks that I've had the pleasure and privilege to meet and to work with. This was just a terrible circumstance and there's just no way that anyone walks out a winner."

Brown shot and killed Walker, 63, after the trooper pulled beside a disabled vehicle on the shoulder of southbound Interstate 85 in Dinwiddie.

Master Trooper Walker was a 40-year veteran with the Virginia State Police nearing retirement, a father of six children, and a husband of 32 years when he was killed.

Master Trooper Junius Walker

Master Trooper Junius Walker

Brown was initially deemed mentally unfit to stand trial. He told state police that God told him to shoot and kill Walker, according to a court document. Brown also turned to the interviewing trooper and said that the trooper was the next to die.

He told troopers he smoked marijuana on March 7, the day of the shooting, according to the warrant. Police found residue of a "green leafy substance" in the vehicle Brown was driving.

Police also found a magazine containing two live rounds inside the car, according to the warrant.

Police said they spoke with Brown's grandmother who said she'd spoken to Russell recently and that over the last month or so he'd been talking about the Bible and not making much sense. She said that was unlike her grandson, the warrant indicated.

In March 2015 he was ruled competent to stand trial and his mental health review was terminated.

The defense still entered an insanity plea.

Lori Lambert, a family intervention team member with the Chesterfield-Colonial Heights Department of Social Services, described Brown's living environment as "disastrous."

Lambert testified that at one point in Brown's life, both his grandmother and mother told judges they no longer wanted to be his legal guardian.



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