A native of Tennessee, born February 25, 1929, Walker was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to prison at age 14.
Paroled after seven years, he adopted a rootless life-style, clashing repeatedly with the law in his travels and serving two prison terms in Ohio, on conviction for armed robbery and grand larceny.
Before his ultimate arrest in 1965, authorities believe he claimed a minimum of fourteen victims -- three in Cleveland, four in rural Michigan, another seven scattered over Illinois. The crimes in Michigan were typical of Walker's style.
On February 6, 1965, 37-year-old Mary Jones was reported missing in Benton Harbor, after a late night of bar-hopping. Nine days later, 19-year-old Delores Young was kidnapped off the street in Benton Harbor, her nude body found in the ruins of a burned-out house on February 16. Amelia Boyer, 60, was the next to go, abducted from a laundromat. On March 30, seven-year-old Diane Carter disappeared from the same neighborhood where Walker was residing, under the alias of "James Darnell."
On April 4, the mutilated remains of Jones, Boyer, and Carter were found together, in a secluded pine grove at Bainbridge Township. Body parts and articles of clothing taken from the corpses would be matched, in years to come, with other mutilation deaths in Cleveland. Mary Jones's severed skull was found on April 23, near the home of a man listed by "James Darnell" as a relative, but Walker left town before he could be questioned.
Arrested weeks later in Chicago, he drew a term of 320 years in prison on conviction of rape, armed robbery, and assault with intent to murder. In Michigan, authorities were hampered by the stubborn certainty that they were looking for a white man skilled in surgery. (Walker was black, with only minor public education.)
As years went by, detectives tried to link their unsolved crimes with the activities of Albert DeSalvo, Richard Speck, and Antone Costa... all in vain. It would be summer 1970 before the homicides were linked to Walker, serving time in Illinois.
The suspect has declined to talk with homicide investigators, and no charges have been filed in view of his existing sentence, but authorities in three states have closed the books on 14 murders, so convinced are they of Walker's guilt.
Michael Newton - An Encyclopedia
of Modern Serial Killers - Hunting Humans
SEX: M PACE: B TYPE: N MOTIVE:
MO: Shot 14-year-old boy;
"ripper" of females age seven to 60
seven years for manslaughter in Tenn., 1945; 320 years in Ill. for
attempted murder, rape, and robbery, 1968.