SPRINGFIELD — A Colorado inmate has been charged with stabbing a woman to death near a southwest Missouri motel about 28 years ago when he was a trucker passing through the area.
The second-degree murder and armed criminal action charges were filed against Richard Walker on Thursday in Green County Circuit Court after Springfield police reviewed the cold case and re-interviewed him in prison last week.
"It's a sense of accomplishment and it's a good feeling that you can put something to rest that's been lingering for a long time," Springfield Police Chief Paul F. Williams said.
At the time of the 1982 crime, Walker ran from officers who spotted him near where 22-year-old Angela Baskin was stabbed. She died a few hours later at a hospital.
A security guard at a bar next to the motel said Walker had a knife in his pocket when he was kicked out of the establishment for being too intoxicated a short time before the killing, police said.
Police said Walker denied having the knife or knowing anything about the killing and there wasn't enough evidence to charge him.
Detectives said in the probable cause statement that Walker, now 56, reported in the recent interview that Baskin had asked him if he could help her get some marijuana after he was kicked out of a bar. Detectives at the time heard that Baskin had been asking others for pot, too.
Walker said he told Baskin he couldn't help her and walked next door to the motel, where he was staying. He said that while he was inside the cab of his truck repairing electrical wires with his pocket knife, he was grabbed on the shoulder from behind. Walker told the detectives he spun around with his knife still in his hand and began stabbing at the unknown person standing behind him, the probable cause statement said.
Walker said he eventually realized the person he had stabbed was the same person who had approached him looking for marijuana. He said he watched her stumble to the ground, bleeding heavily and threw his knife into a field located behind the motel. He was walking away from the building when police approached him, the probable cause statement said.
Colorado Department of Corrections spokeswoman Katherine Sanguinetti said Walker wasn't allowed to be interviewed because he was being confined by himself in administrative segregation, a precautionary measure that was taken because of the new murder charge.
Walker has been in prison since 2000 for first-degree sexual assault. He is serving the sentence at the Arrowhead Correctional Center in Canon City, Colo.
If convicted in the 1982 case, Walker could face a 10- to 30-year prison sentence for second-degree murder, plus at least a three-year sentence for armed criminal action.
Authorities said at a news conference Thursday that there is no time set for returning Walker to Missouri for the murder case.