Fratricide trial under way in Alpine; defense claims self defense
By JIM STREET
ALPINE – John Finley Walker was being interviewed by Alpine Police Capt. Darrell Losoya two years ago when he learned his brother was dead.
A video of the interrogation was played in Walker’s murder trial this week in 394th District Court. The fight occurred shortly after midnight on April 10, 2015.
Prosecutor 83rd District Attorney Sandy Wilson played the recording before a six-man, six-woman jury with two female alternates.
Walker said he had just shot his brother, Justin James Walker, in the abdomen after Justin cut the defendant’s leg with a razor blade, also referred to as a box cutter, that John had given him earlier.
The fight in the family home on North 10th Street also included their mother Tammy. All three had been drinking and John said both brothers had been smoking methamphetamines.
The 22-year-old John Walker said Justin, who was one year older, started the fight at the top of a flight of stairs with one landing halfway up.
John was on the landing but went upstairs and Justin kicked him in the chest. He then shoved his older brother, who fell back and broke a window with his head.
All three Walkers were on the floor fighting at the top of the stairs with the mother briefly separating the brothers. At one point, John said Justin knocked him down the stairs. Another time, he was holding his mother by the throat.
John went downstairs and got a .22-caliber rifle. He said he intended to threaten his brother with the gun and, if that didn’t work, he would shoot him in the leg.
In the heat of battle, John said he fired the weapon once, striking Justin in the abdomen. He said he did not intend to kill his brother.
Defense attorney Jaime Escuder asked Losoya if he understood a defendant’s right to claim self-defense. Losoya said he did.
Assistant defense attorney Paul Chambers said in his opening statement Monday they planned to use self-defense, saying the older Walker started the fight.
He said Justin earlier tried to run over John with a truck and later stabbed him. Neither earlier event was reported to police.
The state was expected to rest late Wednesday or early Thursday. Both sides agreed the case could go to the jury by mid-day Friday.
The trial was actually in the Brewster County Commissioners Courtroom because the district courtroom on the second floor is undergoing renovation.
While the trial was under way, access to the courthouse was only through the west door facing 7th Street. All other doors were locked.