DINWIDDIE, Va. – A judge followed a jury suggestion on Thursday, Dec. 8, when he sentenced Russell Brown, found guilty for the capital murder of Virginia State Master Trooper Junius Walker, to life in prison.
Brown shot and killed Trooper Walker, 63, after the trooper pulled beside a disabled vehicle on the shoulder of southbound Interstate 85 in Dinwiddie.
Walker, a 40-year veteran with the Virginia State Police, was nearing retirement. He was a father of six children, and a husband of 32 years when he was killed.
Thirty-one-year-old Brown was found guilty in August of six felony charges: capital murder of a law enforcement officer, attempted capital murder of a law officer, three counts of use of a firearm in commission of a felony, and attempted murder.
Brown was sentenced to two life sentences plus 23 years in prison. One life sentence was for the capital murder of Trooper Walker, the other life sentence was for the attempted murder of Trooper Samuel Moss.
Brown’s defense attorney Jacqueline Reiner maintained this is a mental health case and they will appeal.
Brown was initially deemed mentally unfit to stand trial. He told state police that God told him to shoot and kill Walker, according to a court document. Brown also turned to the interviewing trooper and said that the trooper was the next to die.
He told troopers he smoked marijuana on March 7, the day of the shooting, according to the warrant. Police found residue of a "green leafy substance" in the vehicle Brown was driving.
Police also found a magazine containing two live rounds inside the car, according to the warrant.
Police said they spoke with Brown's grandmother who said she'd spoken to Russell recently and that over the last month or so he'd been talking about the Bible and not making much sense. She said that was unlike her grandson, the warrant indicated.
In March 2015 he was ruled competent to stand trial and his mental health review was terminated.
The defense still entered an insanity plea.
“This absolutely was a victory, he will never see the light of day,” said Ann Baskervil, with the Dinwiddie County Commonwealth's Attorney.
Baskervil originally sought the death penalty, but said Brown truly wanted to die if convicted.
“He did not want to spend a year in jail we have him in jail records saying that so that this is kind of his worst nightmare,” she said.
Elizabeth Walker said she is still searching her heart for forgiveness.
“I think the judgment we got is best,” she said.
“The grandchildren will never know their papa except through us,” she added.