serial killers by name [w] amazon
  WALKER Gary Alan USA ... ... ... 5
1984 OK
Prior to embarkation on a spree of rape and murder, Gary Walker managed to compile a record of convictions spanning fifteen years, with charges that included auto theft, burglary, narcotics abuse and firearms violations. As Walker described his own life, "I haven't spent a full year out of jail since I was seventeen years old." Nor was he any stranger to mental institutions. While confined in the Oklahoma state prison, between 1977 and 1980, Walker was sent to the state hospital at Vinita on three occasions. One psychiatric report indicates that he sometimes entered mental health facilities "to hide from law enforcement officers." Along the way, Walker had sampled therapy, drugs, and electric shock treatments. Released from a federal lockup on February 7, 1984, on charges of prison escape and firearms violations, Gary had spent the final months of his term at the Federal Medical Facility in Springfield, Missouri. According to the staff, Walker's dead brother had been "speaking" to him; diagnosed as paranoid and schizophrenic, he was still eligible for parole. On May 7, 1984, Eddie Cash, age 63, was found dead at his home in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, a suburb of Tulsa. His van was missing when the body was discovered, bludgeoned with a brick, the electric cord from a vacuum cleaner wrapped around his neck. That evening, 36-year-old Margaret Bell vanished, with her car, from a Porteau, Oklahoma, tavern. She was reported missing on May 8, but police had no reason to connect the crimes, so far. On May 14, Jayne Hilburn, 35, was strangled in her home at Vinita, forty-five miles Northeast of Tulsa; her classic black Camaro was reported stolen from the scene. Next day, a young woman in Oakhurst -- a Tulsa suburb -- accepted a ride from the bushy-haired driver of a black Camaro. He introduced himself as "Gary Edwards" before pulling a knife and demanding that she shed her pants. The woman managed to escape unharmed, and told her story to police. Five days later, in Skiatook, another Tulsa suburb, the same man abducted a 17-year-old girl, raping her at knifepoint before she scrambled free of his Camaro. The car was found abandoned on May 22, indicating that the killer rapist might be searching for another set of wheels. On May 23, 32-year-old Janet Jewell disappeared near Beggs, Oklahoma, en route to a job-hunting expedition in Tulsa. The next afternoon, Valerie Shaw-Hartzell, newscaster for a Tulsa radio station, vanished -- along with her pickup truck -- in the midst of her weekly shopping. On May 25, she was sighted at two different drive-up banks, in the company of an unidentified man, as she tried to cash personal checks. Unsuccessful in her first attempt, she obtained $500 at the second stop -- and then vanished. On May 26, a young woman was kidnapped at knifepoint from a bar in Vinita, the scene of Jayne Hilburn's murder. After being raped, she was released by her abductor and reported the crime to police. Her description of the rapist's pickup matched the missing radio announcer's vehicle, and its new driver was belatedly traced to a local motel, where he had registered as "Dana Ray." The case "broke" on May 28, when agents of the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation announced that fingerprints recovered from Jayne Hilburn's Camaro had been positively identified. They belonged to ex-convict Gary Walker, now suspected in a string of violent crimes around the state. On May 29, surviving victims from Oakhurst, Skiatook, and Vinita chimed in with identifications of Walker's prison mug shots, and the hunt was on. The next day, in Van Buren, Arkansas, a knife-wielding "madman" invaded a home and abducted two girls, taking them on a wild twenty-minute ride in their own car. He talked incessantly about the urgent need of finding "a deserted road," but the hostages escaped before he found a likely killing ground. On May 31, the girls identified Gary Walker as their abductor. On the morning of June 2, Walker barged into another Van Buren home, threatening the female tenants with a pistol and escaping in their car. By noon, they had identified his photograph, and new alerts were issued in the Tulsa area, as homicide investigators braced themselves for Walker's possible return. That evening, a tip led officers to stake out a shabby mobile home, and Walker was captured at 10:45 p.m., approaching the trailer with two other men. In custody, the transient slayer launched his marathon confession with a feeble plea for sympathy: "I'm sorry I killed five people, okay?" Over the next six days, Walker directed police to the bodies of missing victims Janet Jewell (near Beggs), Valerie Shaw-Hartzell (near Claremore, east of Tulsa), and Margaret Bell (in an old barn near Princeton, Kentucky). In 1985, Walker was convicted on five counts of murder and sentenced to die. (An eerie reminder of Walker's case returned to haunt Oklahoma lawmen in 1986. On June 6, the lifeless body of Deronda Roy, age 24, was recovered from a rainswept forest between Claremore and Tulsa. Nude, except for stockings and the bra that had been used as a garrote, her corpse was bruised and marked with burns inflicted by a cigarette. The victim's last known companion had been Marshall Cummings, Jr., an ex-convict and one of the men arrested with Gary Walker on June 2, 1984. In early 1987, Cummings pled guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to 25 years in prison.
Copyright 1995-2005 by Elisabeth Wetsch
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