A King County Superior Court judge on Thursday sentenced a 36-year-old gang member to 50 years in prison for the April 2010 killing of Alajawan Brown, a 12-year-old boy who was shot in the back outside a Skyway convenience store.
Before sentencing Curtis Walker to 50 years in prison, King County Superior Court Judge Richard Eadie entreated the 36-year-old gang member to help steer other young men away from the violent path that led him to fatally shoot a 12-year-old boy in the back.
“You’re going to prison for a long time and you’ll see a lot of men in prison and probably a lot of gang members,” Eadie told Walker on Thursday. “… because of who you are, because of what you’ve done, because you’re an O.G. (original gangster), these younger men will look up to you and look to you for leadership.
“Tell those young men … it wasn’t worth it,” the judge said.
During his trial, Walker attempted to pin the shooting on another man, but the jury didn’t buy his defense and convicted him in February of first-degree murder and first-degree unlawful possession of a firearm.
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Alajawan Brown was returning home after purchasing a pair of football cleats with $20 he’d earned doing yard work for neighbors when he was shot on April 29, 2010, the jury heard. Walker, a 20-year member of the Blood Pirus gang, mistakenly thought Brown was a member of the rival Crips gang involved in a shootout at a nearby apartment complex only minutes earlier.
Brown was wearing a blue-and-black jacket and jeans — clothing that was strikingly similar to that worn by a Crip who shot and critically wounded one of Walker’s companions during the gunfight at Cedar Village Apartments, located less than a block away from where Brown was killed.
A number of prosecution witnesses testified that Brown and Walker made eye contact, and Brown turned and ran to a Skyway 7-Eleven store as Walker aimed a .38-caliber revolver at him and fired twice, striking the boy once in the back.
Brown collapsed and died in the store parking lot at South 129th Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Way South.
Walker’s DNA was found on the trigger of the murder weapon and on casings inside the gun. Eyewitnesses implicated Walker, along with ballistics tests, phone records and video surveillance footage.
Walker wiped away tears and declined to address the court on Thursday. But his aunt, Erma Douglas, blamed the media for portraying Walker as a felon and gang member and suggested an “all-white jury” found him guilty “before the trial even started.”
Brown’s mother, Ayanna Brown, read aloud a letter she’d written to Walker and said she had to forgive him for the sake of her own healing. But her anger was palpable, and Walker refused to meet her gaze.
“You’re called an O.G., but the O.G. ran away during the shootout. You shot an unarmed, 12-year-old boy in the back. Where is the honor in that?” she said. “… You coward.”
A video photo montage showed the boy, the youngest of four, grinning alongside his siblings, wrapped in the arms of his parents, playing basketball and wearing the football jersey he loved. The judge also watched a short video, shot five months before Brown was killed: Dressed in a sweatshirt and jeans, Brown tap-danced on a cracked sidewalk as his mother laughed and cheered him on.
Walker had attempted to have his sentencing postponed by requesting new attorneys and a psychological evaluation. He had previously filed complaints against his defense attorneys, Jerry Stimmel and Ann Mahony, with the state Bar Association, claiming ineffective counsel, but both complaints were dismissed.
He also filed a recent motion claiming he had “a mental disorder” along with drug and alcohol problems and the court heard Thursday that Walker has a history of family psychosis and has suffered from depression, diabetes, hypertension and impotence.
But the judge — noting that Walker assisted with his defense and “testified cogently” during his three-week trial — denied both motions.
Referencing Walker’s violent history, which includes eight convictions for felony assault, Eadie said “there’s really only one sentence that’s appropriate” — a 50-year prison term, the stiffest punishment Eadie could deliver.
Walker then filed his notice of appeal to have his conviction and sentence reviewed by the state Court of Appeals.
Sara Jean Green: 206-515-5654 or firstname.lastname@example.org