DINWIDDIE COUNTY, Va. – A jury recommended that Russell Brown get a life prison sentence without the possibility of parole the murder of Virginia State Master Trooper Junius Walker, on Interstate 85 in March 2013.
Brown was found guilty of capital murder on July 28, after a three-week trial. Dinwiddie County Commonwealth’s Attorney Ann Baskervill said her office planned to pursue the death penalty against Brown.
Jurors were asked to choose between sentencing Brown to death or to life in prison without parole.
The 31-year-old was found guilty 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.
Sentences for the remaining charges have not yet been determined.
Brown shot and killed Walker, 63, after the trooper pulled beside a disabled vehicle on the shoulder of southbound Interstate 85 in Dinwiddie.
Master Trooper Walker was a 40-year veteran with the Virginia State Police nearing retirement, a father of six children, and a husband of 32 years when he was killed.
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.
Lori Lambert, a family intervention team member with the Chesterfield-Colonial Heights Department of Social Services, described Brown’s living environment as “disastrous.”
Lambert testified that at one point in Brown’s life, both his grandmother and mother told judges they no longer wanted to be his legal guardian.