Curtis Walker is charged with first-degree murder in a fatal shooting in April 2010. Walker's defense team says police arrested the wrong man.
Defense attorney Jerry Stimmel insisted Wednesday that homicide detectives and prosecutors “flubbed” the investigation into the April 2010 fatal shooting of 12-year-old Alajawan Brown and fingered his client while the real shooter remains free.
But King County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Jessica Berliner said witness descriptions of the shooter all matched Curtis Walker, a 36-year-old felon whose first-degree murder trial began Wednesday before Superior Court Judge Richard Eadie.
Berliner told the jury of 10 men and five women — three are alternates — that DNA found on the trigger of the murder weapon, a .38-caliber revolver, and on bullets and casings inside the gun all matched Walker’s DNA. She said phone records and other evidence also point to Walker’s guilt.
In her opening statements, Berliner told the jury that Brown was “a good boy” who loved football. Brown’s parents are “working folks” who taught him to work for the things he wanted — and by April 29, 2010, the boy had earned enough money doing yard work to purchase a pair of cleats for $20, she said.
Most Read Local Stories
- Seattle-area residents should prepare for wild weather ahead, forecasters say
- COVID-19 kills Moses Lake couple, orphans their 8-year-old after visit to the fair
- 15-year-old SeaTac girl charged with murder, hit-and-run in July death of Maple Valley runner
- COVID-19 surge forces health care rationing in parts of West
His mother dropped him off at a Walmart store, and Brown returned by bus to his Skyway neighborhood that afternoon. As he got off the bus, Brown was shot once in the back and died in the parking lot of a 7-Eleven at the intersection of South 129th Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Way South, Berliner said.
“The defendant shot him, mistaking him for someone else,” she said. “Alajawan Brown was in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
Jurors were told that Brown’s death came after a shootout at the Cedar Village Apartments, a block away from the 7-Eleven.
Both the prosecution and defense agreed that Walker got a call from a friend, Jonathan Jackson, to back him up because of an ongoing beef Jackson had with a resident of Cedar Village. Walker drove to the apartment complex from Kent, despite his wife’s pleas that he not go.
Rodrigues Rabun, one of Walker’s neighbors, accompanied Walker in his black Cadillac while Walker’s wife, Shaleese Walker, followed them in her red Cadillac.
Berliner noted that Cedar Village is “Crips territory,” a reference to the street gang. Walker, Jackson and Rabun were all wearing red hats, a color traditionally associated with the Bloods, a rival gang, she said.
After they arrived at Cedar Village, Jackson was shot twice by another man and the Walkers and Rabun quickly left, leaving Jackson behind. The Walkers were in the red car while Rabun drove the black Cadillac, Berliner said.
Both vehicles were stopped at a red light near the 7-Eleven when Brown got off the bus. Walker saw Alajawan dressed in blue, said Berliner, noting that blue is a color often worn by Crips, and got out of the vehicle.
“The fact is when the defendant saw that boy … he decided to kill him,” Berliner said.
Walker allegedly fired twice; the second shot hit Brown in the back, she said.
“The defendant pointed the gun at him long enough that Alajawan saw it coming, and he had enough time to turn around and start running toward the 7-Eleven,” Berliner said.
Three guns, including the revolver, were ditched in a field and recovered by police.
The black Cadillac, which Walker allegedly jumped into after the shooting, was involved in a collision minutes later, Berliner said.
Witnesses to the crash gave police the license-plate number, including one woman who followed the Cadillac to the field where the guns were later discovered, Berliner said.
The Cadillac was later found abandoned and stripped, she said.
Stimmel argued that it was Rabun, not Walker, who fired the fatal shot. While Stimmel didn’t say anything about possible DNA evidence on the murder weapon, he said Rabun wore gloves that day and Walker had been armed with a .22-caliber pistol that didn’t work.
He criticized investigators and prosecutors: “They rushed it, fumbled it and they’ve been coddling the wrong guy till this day,” Stimmel said. “… They let the wrong guy go and kept the wrong guy here.”
Rabun, who fled to Louisiana within hours of Brown’s slaying, is to testify against Walker in a trial expected to last about three weeks.
Sara Jean Green: 206-515-5654 or email@example.com