PHOENIX – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – Larry Kent Walker, Sr., age 32, of San Carlos, Ariz., was found guilty here by a federal jury this afternoon of First Degree Felony Murder, Second Degree Murder, Assault Resulting in Serious Bodily Injury and Assault with a Dangerous Weapon for the death of a three-year-old girl who was found dead on November 3, 2003, on the San Carlos Apache Reservation.
The facts at trial showed that the three-year-old victim had been returned to the custody of her mother, Sharon Dosela, from foster care by order of the tribal court, approximately six weeks before her death. Dosela was living with Walker at the time. At trial, the government showed that Walker had beaten the victim numerous times with a wooden paddle the week before her death. Many of these blows were to the victim’s head and the victim suffered two seizures in the days before being reported dead. Medical testimony indicated that the victim most likely lingered for up to two days without medical care after having suffered brain injuries. She had likely been dead for several hours before her death was reported to police or medical personnel. In finding felony murder, the jury made specific findings that the murder resulted from child abuse and a pattern or practice of assault and torture against a child. The jury acquitted Walker of the charge of Aggravated Sexual Abuse.
U.S. Attorney Paul K. Charlton stated that “The jury’s verdict today sends a clear message that violent acts, especially against those who cannot protect themselves, will not be tolerated in our system of justice. I applaud the jury for this difficult but important task of bringing a child murderer to justice.”
The case was tried before U.S. District Court Judge Neil V. Wake from July 5 through July 15. A conviction for First Degree Murder carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison. The other counts carry a maximum sentence of between ten years and life in prison. Walker remains in federal custody and is set for sentencing before Judge Wake on September 26, 2005.
The investigation leading to the guilty verdict was conducted by the Bureau of Indian Affairs with assistance from the FBI. The prosecution is being handled by Ann Scheel and Michael Morrissey, Assistant U.S. Attorneys, District of Arizona, Phoenix.