Sentencing begins for man convicted of killing Trooper Junius Walker

Sentencing begins for man convicted of killing Trooper Junius Walker
Russell Ervin Brown (Source: NBC12)
Russell Ervin Brown (Source: NBC12)

DINWIDDIE, VA (WWBT) - Sentencing got underway Friday morning in the Capital Murder case of a man convicted of killing Master Trooper Junius Walker. Thursday, a jury convicted Russell Brown of killing Walker in March of 2013.

Now, those same jurors will have to decide if Brown will be put to death for the crime or sentenced to life in prison.

The Commonwealth put on four witnesses, including Walker's family, to share how Walker's death has affected them. As his daughter Clarissa told the jurors, it has been a tough three years, four months and 22 days.

Tall, strong, with a big smile and a mischievous twinkle in his eye, that's how Master Trooper Walker's wife Elizabeth described her husband in court.

She shared how they met as co-workers when he started with Virginia State Police in 1973, and their relationship grew from there, with the pair falling in love and eventually getting married.
She cried as she told the jury how he was devoted to their daughters, Clarissa and Vera, and how he was proud of his role with state police.

Before leaving the stand, Walker's widow turned to Russell Brown and told him, "You'll never be able to take away our memories."

Their girls testified their father's death on March 7, 2013 was the worse day of their lives, stealing the man they looked up to and robbing their children of the opportunity to ever really know their "PaPa."

The baby of the family, Vera, called her dad, "her person," and said, since he's been gone, she feels like she's missing that connection. She testified her dad always had an answer.

Oldest daughter Clarissa recounted how she learned her father's cruiser was found burning on the side of I-85 that day and how she melted to the ground when she learned he had been killed.

The last witness of the day was Walker's co-worker Trooper "Eddie" Christopher, who testified he looked up to Walker as a big brother, affectionately calling him "JA."

Christopher remembered how kids loved "JA" and "JA" loved kids.

"I feel a loss. I can't describe it. I miss him," Christopher recalled as he fought through tears.

While Russell Brown sat motionless during the almost hour-long testimony, jurors and people throughout the courtroom could be heard becoming emotional and seen wiping tears.

The sentencing phase will continue Monday at 9:30 a.m. at Dinwiddie County Circuit Courthouse.

The defense says it anticipates it will need at least two days to put on evidence in the Capital Murder portion of this sentencing.

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