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Robert Allen WALLS

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

   
 
 
Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Robbery
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: December 5, 1985
Date of arrest: 15 days after
Date of birth: August 3, 1965
Victim profile: Fred Harmon (male, 88)
Method of murder:  Combination of blunt injuries, hypothermia and suffocation
Location: St. Louis County, Missouri, USA
Status: Executed by lethal injection in Missouri on June 30, 1999
 
 
 
 
 
 

State of Missouri v. Robert Allen Walls

744 S.W.2d 791 (Mo. banc 1988)

Robert Allen Walls was executed on June 30, 1999

Case Facts:

On the night of December 5, 1985 Robert Walls, Terry Wilson and Tommy Thomas were together drinking and discussing ways to leave St. Louis. Wilson told them he had recently burglarized the house of an elderly man and knew they could get a car and some money from the victim.

The trio took a cab to Maplewood, Missouri in St. Louis County to the home of Mr. Fred Harmon. Wilson and Thomas entered through a window of the home while Walls remained outside. Walls later entered the house through a side door.

Mr. Harmon, who recognized Wilson, told him he would give them anything if they would just leave him alone. Walls saw Thomas kicking Mr. Harmon in the head with the toe of his boot telling him to shut up. All three tried to tie Mr. Harmon up with neckties while he strongly resisted. During the struggle Walls held Mr. Harmonís head down with his foot and suggested to the others that they tie the victimís feet together.

The three men then dragged Mr. Harmon to the kitchen where they decided to put him into the freezer. Wilson started putting the victim in the freezer and asked the others to help him. All three lifted Mr. Harmon into the freezer upside down. Walls later opened the freezer and reported that Mr. Harmon states "Iím already dead, let me die."

Walls went back in the bedroom for the keys to the car and when he returned a television and typewriter had been placed on top of the freezer. Wilson and Thomas also placed a chair on top of the freezer to further hinder any attempt by Mr. Harmon to escape. The three then drank some sodas, took Mr. Harmonís money and left the scene in the victimís car.

Three days later on December 18, 1985 the Maplewood Police Department found Mr. Harmon in the freezer after neighbors reported they had not recently seen the victim.

The police also discovered that four stove burners were on and the pilot lights were extinguished. They observed that the telephone cord had been ripped from the wall and that there was blood on Mr. Harmonís bed and the bedroom floor and walls.

The police found Mr. Harmonís nude body in the freezer covered with a sheet. An autopsy revealed that Mr. Harmon sustained numerous blunt trauma injuries to his head and limbs, had broken ribs and a bruise on his spleen. Death was attributed to a combination of blunt injuries, hypothermia and suffocation.

Walls was arrested on December 20, 1985 in Santa Monica, California for burglary with Terry Wilson. The victimís car was recovered near the scene of the burglary and both Walls and Wilson were charged with the murder of Mr. Harmon. While in California Walls made a statement to the police concerning the crime.

Legal Chronology:

1984
10/22 - Robert Walls was sentenced to three concurrent seven year sentences for three counts of burglary second degree in St. Charles County, Missouri.

1985
12/15 - Robert Walls, Terry Wilson, and Tommy Thomas murdered Mr. Fred Harmon.

1986
3/15 - Walls was charged with first degree murder, burglary and robbery in St. Louis County Circuit Court.
11/8 - Walls is found guilty by a jury on all charges and recommends the death penalty on the murder first degree conviction.
12/18 - The court sentenced Walls to death.

1988
2/17 - The Missouri Supreme Court affirmed Wallís conviction and sentences.
5/5 - Walls filed a motion for post-conviction relief.
10/3 - The United States Supreme Court declined review of Wallsí case
12/9 - The circuit court denied Wallís motion for post-conviction relief.

1989
11/14 - The Missouri Supreme Court affirmed the denial of Wallsí motion for post-conviction relief.

1990
3/26 - The United States Supreme Court declined review of Wallsí post-conviction claims.
3/30 - Walls filed federal habeas corpus petition in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri.

1997
2/27 - The federal district court granted the writ of habeas corpus.

1998
8/6 - The United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit reversed the judgement of the district court granting the writ. The court ordered that habeas relief be denied.
4/19 - The United States Supreme Court declined review of Wallís habeas claims.
5/4 - The State filed a motion to set an execution date with the Missouri Supreme Court.
5/28 - The Missouri Supreme Court scheduled Wallsí execution date for June 30, 1999.

  


 

Robert Walls was sentenced to die for the 1985 slaying of an elderly man whose bound and beaten body was found stuffed in a freezer. 

Walls was convicted of killing 88-year-old Fred Harmon after walking away from a halfway house where he was serving a burglary sentence. 

He and 2 men he met at the halfway house Tommy Thomas and Terry Wilson went to the victim's home to rob him. Harmon was bound with neckties, dragged to the kitchen and shoved into a freezer. The men shut the lid and piled a TV, a chair and other heavy objects on top.  They took $100 and Harmon's car and took off for California, where they were eventually arrested. 

An autopsy determined that Harmon died of head injuries, suffocation and hypothermia. Walls said he was interested only in stealing money and Harmon's car. "My goal was never to kill this man," he said. "I told them, `Don't do it. Leave him alone.'" 

Wilson, 33, was convicted of 2nd-degree murder and is serving a life term in prison. Thomas, 31, is serving a life sentence after pleading guilty to 1st-degree murder, robbery and burglary.

  


 

Robert Walls, 33, 99-06-30, Missouri

A man convicted in the 1985 slaying of an elderly man whose bound and beaten body was found stuffed in a freezer was executed by injection early Wednesday.

Robert Walls, 33, was pronounced dead at 12:08 a.m.

"I'm sorry for the victim's family," he said before the drugs were injected. "I love my family and will miss them. I hold nothing on anybody over this. Goodbye."

Walls was convicted of killing 88-year-old Fred Harmon after walking away from a halfway house where he was serving a burglary sentence.

He and 2 men he met at the halfway house Tommy Thomas and Terry Wilson went to the victim's home to rob him. Harmon was bound with neckties, dragged to the kitchen and shoved into a freezer. The men shut the lid and piled a TV, a chair and other heavy objects on top.

They took $100 and Harmon's car and took off for California, where they were eventually arrested.

An autopsy determined that Harmon died of head injuries, suffocation and hypothermia.
Walls said he was interested only in stealing money and Harmon's car.

"My goal was never to kill this man," he said. "I told them, `Don't do it. Leave him alone.'"

Wilson, 33, was convicted of 2nd-degree murder and is serving a life term in prison. Thomas, 31, is serving a life sentence after pleading guilty to 1st-degree murder, robbery and burglary.

Walls becomes the 8th condemned inmate to be put to death this year in Missouri, and the 40th overall since the state resumed capital punishment in 1989.

Missouri trails only Texas (178), Virginia (67) and Florida (43) in the number of executions carried out since the death penalty was re-legalized on July 2, 1976.

Walls also becomes the 53rd condemned inmate to be put to death this year in the USA, and the 553rd overall since America resumed executions on Jan. 17, 1977.

(sources: Associated Press & Rick Halperin)

 

 

 
 
 
 
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