RIVERSIDE – Both sides rested today in the trial of an ex-con accused of asphyxiating his live-in girlfriend after she returned to their Riverside apartment high on drugs.
Drake Von Walker, who has a 1992 manslaughter conviction for killing his first wife, could face 50 years to life in prison if convicted of first- degree murder in the 2011 death of 32-year-old Maisha Shante Walters.
Riverside County Deputy District Attorney Michael Kersse called his final witness this morning, and with the 51-year-old defendant electing not to testify, Superior Court Judge Bernard Schwartz adjourned proceedings for the day. Closing arguments are scheduled for Tuesday morning.
Walker, who’s being held without bail at the Robert Presley Jail in Riverside, is accused of killing Walters on the afternoon of June 23, 2011.
They lived together for five years, each of them nursing methamphetamine addictions and regularly engaging in heated arguments during which Walker allegedly beat the victim, according to a trial brief filed by Kersse.
He said Walters’ drug dependency was so serious she could not hold down a job and relied on the defendant for ”housing, money, transportation — all the necessities of life.”
The woman would sometimes vanish for days at a time, infuriating the defendant, who had a ”controlling” nature, the prosecution alleges.
Walker told detectives that on the day of the killing, Walters returned to his apartment at 7774 Magnolia Ave. ”tore up and high,” meaning she had been on a meth binge and suffered unexplained injuries while on the street, Kersse said.
Neighbors recalled hearing the couple yelling at one another throughout the morning. Walker later told investigators that he treated the victim’s injuries, then ”put her to bed.” He said when he came back to check on her that evening, she was dead.
On the afternoon of June 24, the defendant walked to the nearby Riverside Police Department Magnolia Station and informed desk officers that he wanted to report the death of a woman, whom he initially referred to as an ”occasional girlfriend … and a prostitute,” according to court papers.
When investigators visited the apartment, they found Walters’ nude body, partially covered on a bed, exhibiting signs of a physical assault, with blood stains on the floor and a pillow tossed behind the bedroom door.
An autopsy revealed evidence the victim had been smothered, though the finding was not conclusive. Walters also had a high level of meth in her bloodstream, according to court documents.
After his arrest, the defendant was recorded on a jailhouse telephone telling friends and relatives he must be deranged for repeating the same type of crime inside of 14 years and was hoping that — as with the death of his wife — he could ”take a deal” to plead the crime down to manslaughter, the brief alleges.