Trial in 2014 double murder continued until 2019

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 31, 2018

SALISBURY — The trial of two of three people charged in a 2014 double murder in Spencer, which had been scheduled to start this week, has been continued until February, court documents show.

Darius Abel, 28, has been in the Rowan County jail since his Oct. 16, 2014, arrest under a more than $3 million bond. He is charged with murder in the deaths of Antonio “Tony” Walker and James “Junior” Walker, who were shot and killed at their Fifth Street home.

James Robinson, 27, remains in jail without bond on murder charges in the same case. He also is charged with drug possession. Robinson has been in jail since his Oct. 22, 2014, arrest.

A third man, Kenneth Abel, 32, who is the cousin of Darius Abel, accepted a plea deal in September, but his sentencing was postponed. Kenneth Abel remains in the Rowan County Detention Center, where he has been since his Oct. 15, 2014, arrest.

Robinson’s attorney, Jay White of Concord, filed a motion requesting more time to prepare for the trial, saying a DNA sample that was obtained Oct. 1 and sent for testing would not have been returned before a trial this week. White said Robinson would not have adequate time to work with experts and his attorney to review and examine the information.

Court documents say on Oct. 1, the court ruled that the search warrant used to obtain Robinson’s DNA was “fatally defective.” But the court reserved judgment on whether the DNA evidence should be suppressed. Another warrant was obtained to collect Robinson’s DNA sample, which was sent to the N.C. State Crime Lab for testing.

The court then ruled that the first DNA sample should not be suppressed.

The shooting

Angela Walker White told the Post in 2014 that she and her daughter, Jasmine, had just returned home from a movie. They were talking with her brother, Junior Walker, when three men came into the house.

Authorities at the time of the murder said three men wearing gorilla masks and carrying guns burst through the door of the home and asked for Tony Walker. Two of the three men went into a back bedroom, and Tony Walker was shot.

Walker, 29, stumbled out of the room and died on the living room floor. Junior Walker, 44, tried to protect the family and reached for his own gun. He was beaten with a gun by one of the intruders, then was shot and killed.

Assistant District Attorney Paxton Butler told the court in September that the motive for the crime was robbery. He said Tony Walker sold drugs. The prosecutor said Walker had money, drugs and a handgun at the home.

The trial was expected to begin Monday, but now will begin Feb. 4.

Contact reporter Shavonne Walker at 704-797-4253.