Tony Lee Walker, 46, was executed by lethal injection on 10 September in Huntsville, Texas for killing a neighbor couple.
On 23 May 1992, James Cornelius and Tony Walker were riding in Cornelius' car and smoking crack cocaine after midnight. At 12:30 a.m., Cornelius let Walker, then 36, out of the car and he started walking toward his house. According to his later confession, Walker picked up a big stick -- a piece of a railroad tie about the size of a baseball bat -- off the ground. Instead of going to his house, he decided to go to the home of Willie "Bo" Simmons, 81, and his wife, Virginia, 66. Walker knocked on the front door. From behind the door, Mr. Simmons asked, "Who is it?" After Walker identified himself, Simmons let him in. Walker asked Simmons for a beer, which he obtained for him from the kitchen. Walker gave Simmons 50 cents for the beer and then left.
Walker walked around in the woods nearby and drank the beer. He then picked up another club-sized stick and went back to the Simmons' house. He left one of the clubs by the front door and held the other behind his back. He knocked on the door, and Mrs. Simmons let him in. Walker then began beating Mr. Simmons on the head with his club. After the stick broke twice, Walker grabbed a walking cane and hit Mr. Simmons a third time. The cane also broke. He then picked up his other club from the front porch, went into the bedroom, and hit Mrs. Simmons, who fell on the bed. He went back to the living room and pulled Mr. Simmons, who was dazed but still standing, into the bedroom. Walker told Mr. Simmons to lie on the floor and then he tied his hands and feet with an electric cord and other items in the room. He then raped Mrs. Simmons.
After raping Virginia Simmons, Walker laid her on the floor, nude, next to her husband. For the next ten minutes, he looked at them and considered what he was going to do. He then began beating them both in the head repeatedly, until they were both dead. After this, he went to the kitchen, got another beer, and drank it. He then dragged Mrs. Simmons' body into the living room and attempted to have sexual intercourse with it. He then drank another beer.
Next, Walker took Willie Simmons' wallet from his back pocket, took out the money, counted it, and put the $95 in his pocket. He also started looking for items that he might be able to sell. He then drank another beer. After that, he began to clean up the crime scene. He untied Mr. Simmons and put the electrical cord, sticks, beer cans, and other items he had used into a pillowcase. He attempted to wipe his fingerprints off of anything he thought he touched. Naked, he found some of Willie Simmons' clothes to put on and picked his own bloody clothes up. Noticing that the neighbors were stirring, he left through the back door.
Walker was arrested the next day after police found his bloodstained clothes in the woods behind his house, in a hole. At the courthouse, he gave the detailed confession described above. He told police that he had been smoking crack cocaine on the night of the murders and that he robbed the Simmons for money to buy more cocaine.
Walker had a previous conviction for first-degree murder. He was involved in a store robbery where someone was killed. He began serving a 5-year prison sentence in 1978 and was discharged after 2 years. He also had two prior convictions for burglary of a vehicle. He was sentenced to 6 months' probation both times.
Walker pleaded not guilty at his trial. He admitted to being at the crime scene and raping Virginia Simmons, but he said that other men who were with him committed the murders. The prosecution presented his clothes, which were soaked with blood matching both victims, as evidence. The evidence also showed that Walker's sperm was found on Virginia Simmons' body.
Continued on Page 2