Peach County Woman Gets Life for Killing Aunt, Cousin | Crime
Lillian Walker pleaded guilty Monday in a Peach County courtroom to two counts of murder and one count of armed robbery.
The 59-year old woman was charged with killing her 85-year-old aunt, Lillian Graves, and her 65-year old cousin Agnes Stewart, in July 2009.
Walker allegedly stabbed the two women to death at their home at 101 Daniel Drive in Fort Valley.
Last April, District Attorney David Cooke told 13WMAZ that Walker would not face the death penalty. He reached that conclusion after discussing the situation with family members of the victims, Cooke said.
In exchange for removing the death penalty, Cooke said Walker agreed to accept the possible sentence of life without parole if she's convicted of the murders.
He said she also agreed to let the trial judge, not a jury, decide her guilt or innocence.
District Attorney David Cooke said Judge Ed Ennis imposed a sentence of two consecutive life sentences around 11:20 Monday morning.
"Effectively it is life without parole because Walker is in poor health and won't be parole eligible for 60 years," Cooke said.
While some of the victims family members objected to the death penalty, Cooke said that wasn't their primary reason for getting it removed.
"They wanted justice and they wanted it soon," Cooke said. "You have to understand that they have been waiting four years for a trial, and if we continued on the track we were on, there's no telling when we would have gone to trial."
The Walker case marks the second time that Cooke has removed the death sentence from a pending murder case since he took office in January.
He removed it in March of this year in the Stephen McDaniels case. McDaniels, a Mercer Law School graduate, is accused of murdering and dismembering the body of Lauren Giddings, also a Mercer law graduate.
When he took that action, Cooke said the Giddings family asked him to remove the death penalty from the case.
Cooke said he doesn't oppose the death penalty and would use it when he thinks it appropriate. He said the wishes of a victim's family members would be considered when making those decisions.