Sentencing phase begins for man convicted of killing VSP trooper

DINWIDDIE COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — The sentencing phase for the man convicted of killing a Virginia State trooper began Friday. Russell Brown was convicted of capital murder after shooting and killing Master Trooper Junius Walker back in 2013.

It was an emotional day in court as the jury heard testimony from Walker’s wife, his two daughters, as well as a former colleague who worked with him for more than 20 years and was the first on scene after he was shot. The jury will decide whether Brown should spend life behind bars, or be sentenced to death.

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Attorneys for Brown tried to share his life story with the jury, speaking about his family’s history of mental illness. They said the deck was stacked against him before he was even born. They also talked about how Brown’s life started to unravel with the death of his mother and close friend. They told the jury he would be punished, but pleaded that,

They told the jury he would be punished, but pleaded that “this beautiful, civilized society we live in does not need to kill him.”

For the commonwealth, Walker’s wife, Elizabeth Walker, spoke first saying she never worried about him because of how big he was. She broke down as she started to talk about the day he died.

“Part of my heart is in heaven with Walker,” she said.

“Part of my heart is in heaven with Walker.” — Junius Walker’s wife, Elizabeth Walker

At one point she looked directly at Brown and said, “you know what Mr. Brown, you will never take away our memories because we will always have that.”

Walker’s daughter, Vera, testified and became tearful as she said her father was shot on the side of the road with no one that loved him by his side, saying, “to be robbed of his dignity is what hurts the most.”

Walker’s second daughter, Clarissa, called him the backbone of their family.

“When you find out somebody you love so deeply is gone, what are you supposed to do?” she asked.

The day wrapped up with a friend and fellow trooper, Eddie Christopher, who was the first to arrive on the scene. Christopher broke down on the stand as he described finding Walker’s dead body.

“Hee looked, terrible, just terrible,” Christopher said.

The jury will return when court resumes at 9:30 a.m. Monday. The defense is expected to call witnesses, including one of Brown’s former teachers.

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