Man gets two life sentences, plus 23 years in 2013 killing of Master Trooper Walker

Man gets two life sentences, plus 23 years in 2013 killing of Master Trooper Walker
Russell Ervin Brown (Source: NBC12)
Russell Ervin Brown (Source: NBC12)

DINWIDDIE, VA (WWBT) - The man who killed Master Trooper Junius Walker in 2013 was sentenced Thursday to two life sentences, plus 23 years.

Russell E. Brown's defense team argued at his trial in July and during sentencing in early August that Brown thought he was acting out God's will and was following the law of Christ when he killed Walker.

The defense maintained Thursday that this is a mental health case and is considering an appeal, but the Walker family says they are not worried.

Brown had faced the death penalty, but a jury decided this summer to recommend two life sentences and an additional 23 years.

During the trial in July, Dinwiddie Commonwealth's Attorney Ann Cabell Baskervill recognized that Brown suffers from mental illness, but argued that "a bad decision is not insanity."

"There is no lack of sympathy or compassion, but there is no license to kill," she said.

Earlier in the trial, Thomas Hales testified he saw a police cruiser in the woods and another car slightly behind it on March 7, 2013, on I-85. Fearing the worst, he pulled over and backed up.

He testified he found Walker slumped inside his vehicle with no obvious injuries. Hales says seconds later, a slim man holding a gun across his chest popped up from the passenger side of the police cruiser.

Hales says he got out of there and into his truck when he heard shots fired. Several hit the truck. One went through the passenger window and out the windshield before he was able to drive away and call 911.

A jury found Brown guilty of capital murder, attempted capital murder, attempted first-degree murder and three firearms charges in connection with Walker's death.

The Walker family said this summer that they're relieved Brown will never be a free man again.

"I think overall this was a win for the Walker family, at minimum, he'll never be a free man again and I think that's something to come away with, 'cause we weren't guaranteed that," said Walker's daughter, Vera Walker Jordan, in August.

The commonwealth's attorney said in August she was pleased with the outcome of the case.

"We knew they would do the right thing and do a just thing, and they did," said Ann Baskervill.

It was a sentiment shared by Brown's attorney, as well.

"We're grateful where they ended up today, and we feel that was the right result," said Jacqueline Reiner.

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