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February 1, 2012 at 4:21 PM

Jurors begin deliberations in Skyway boy's slaying

Alajawan Brown

A King County jury began its deliberations this afternoon in the murder trial of Curtis Walker, who is accused of fatally shooting a 12-year-old boy he allegedly mistook as a rival gang member involved in a shootout minutes earlier at a Skyway apartment complex in April 2010.

In closing arguments before Superior Court Judge Richard Eadie, defense attorney Jerry Stimmel questioned the scientific validity of ballistics testing that matched two bullets, including one taken from the back of victim Alajawan Brown, with a .38-caliber revolver. He suggested Walker’s DNA — which was found on the revolver’s trigger and on casings inside the gun — was transferred to the weapon by a Renton police officer when he retrieved three guns from an empty field.

Stimmel also said the six eyewitnesses who provided descriptions of the shooter were mistaken and that another man, Rodrigues Rabun, was the shooter, though there “is the slight possibility it was someone else.”

Stimmel also attacked the prosecution’s argument that Brown’s slaying was related to the earlier shootout between rival gang members at the Cedar Village Apartments, about a block from the 7-Eleven store where Brown was killed.

Walker, 36, an alleged member of the Blood Pirus, “wears red to promote his rap,” Stimmel said, equating a gang to “a club” and telling the jury that convicting Walker would be “a catastrophic mistake.”

Deputy prosecutor Jessica Berliner, in rebuttal statements, said Stimmel’s DNA transfer theory “would make the defendant the unluckiest person in the world.” She pointed out that Rabun’s DNA was “all over” the 9 mm handgun he fired at Cedar Village but wasn’t on the other two guns, a .22-caliber Walker admitted was his and the .38-caliber handgun used in the slaying.

She said Walker’s DNA was on the revolver’s bullet casings because “he loaded the gun and it was on the trigger because he pulled the trigger twice when he deliberately shot Alajawan.”

Walker and his wife, Shaleese, lied on the stand, repeatedly changed their stories and forgot certain details — all in an attempt to mislead jurors, Berliner said. “Nothing the defendant and his wife said was ever corroborated by the evidence,” while the accounts from the state’s witnesses were completely consistent with the evidence in the case, including phone records and video surveillance footage, she said.

Berliner agreed that the case wasn’t about gangs, but said the state introduced evidence about the rivalry between the Crips, who typically wear blue, and the Bloods, who wear red, “because that’s the motive, that’s the reason” Brown was killed.

“As soon as he [Walker] saw Alajawan wearing that blue, he decided to kill him,” Berliner said.

King County Sheriff Sue Rahr attended closing arguments and sat with Brown’s relatives, who have been in court every day of the three-week trial. Rahr said she’s become close to the family since the April 29, 2010, slaying of Ayanna and Louis Brown’s youngest child.

“They’re one of the most hardworking, tight-knit, loving families I’ve ever encountered,” Rahr said. “You could not write a more tragic story.”

Comments | More in The Blotter | Topics: homicide, King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office, King County Sheriff's Office

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