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Attorney says Darius Abel has alibi; murder trial to continue

 

SALISBURY — Darius Abel, one of two men on trial for the 2014 murders of two Spencer men, says he has an alibi, his attorney said in court Wednesday.

Darrin Jordan made the announcement after prosecutors closed their case with their last witness, an associate medical examiner. The jury had already been dismissed for the day.

Jordan said he plans to offer evidence, but he did not provide details about the alibi or any evidence to support it. He said he will offer that evidence today. As is customary for defense lawyers, he did ask for the charges to be dismissed. Attorney Jay White did the same for his client, co-defendant James “Mikey” Robinson.

Superior Court Judge Jeffery Carpenter denied both requests.

Abel and Robinson are charged in the shooting deaths of Antonio “Tony” Walker and his uncle James “Junior” Walker.

The trial will continue today with testimony on behalf of Abel. The defendants will also let the court know whether they plan to testify in their defense. Legally, they are not required to testify.

The details

Angela Hill and Jasmine Walker — the mother and sister, respectively, of murder victim Tony Walker — testified a week ago that in October 2014, they were forced to the ground at gunpoint by three men wearing gorilla masks who forced their way into their Spencer home.

The women had returned from watching a movie and were talking with Junior Walker, who’d come to live with his sister because his marriage was ending. The women testified that they witnessed the three gunmen shoot Tony and then Junior when he tried to reach for his own gun.

Both vitims were shot multiple times. Junior Walker was repeatedly hit on the head with the butt of his own gun.

Authorities said a third man, Kenneth Abel, testified that the three intruders knew Tony Walker was a drug dealer and believed he had large sums of money at the house.

Kenneth Abel, who accepted a plea arrangement in September in the case in exchange for testimony against the other two.

The men ran from the scene, but Kenneth Abel left his cellphone behind.

Investigators also find a gorilla mask, a glove and a du-rag not far from the scene.

The men were spotted by a former teacher the night prior to the murders buying three gorilla masks from the Halloween section of Walmart, according to testimony. They were captured on store surveillance video buying the masks and leaving the store separately, then meeting in the parking lot.

The evidence

Data from a cellphone that belonged to James Robinson was extracted and included phone calls, text messages, a selfie of Robinson and an email with a receipt for an Amtrak ticket sent to Robinson. Robinson was arrested in Roanoke Rapids a few weeks after the murder.

Local investigators and State Bureau of Investigation agents testified that the evidence seized includes a mask, du-rag and cellphone.

A neighbor told the court he saw two men walk through his backyard shortly after the murder.

Forensic scientists said on the witness stand that they analyzed the evidence and determined there was no blood on the mask or du-rag, but blood was found on the glove.

Forensic scientist Tanisha Ray testified Wednesday that she tested some of the evidence in April 2016 and again in October 2018. She said the glove contained the blood of Junior Walker and Tony Walker.

The inside of the glove had DNA consistent with that of James Robinson, she said.

An iPhone that was tested had Kenneth Abel’s DNA on it, but the cellphone case was inconclusive because of the insufficient quantity of DNA it contained.

The gorilla mask contained the DNA of James Robinson, and the du-rag had DNA consistent with that of Darius Abel.

Associate Medical Examiners Craig Nelson and Nabila Haikal performed autopsies on the bodies of Junior Walker and Tony Walker, respectively.

Junior Walker had five gunshot wounds and a bump on his head and other cuts to the back of his head. He had been shot in the head, abdomen and thigh and had two gunshots to his left leg. Nelson told the court about the extent of the injuries to Junior Walker’s body. The cause of death was multiple gunshot wounds, he said.

Haikal said Tony Walker was shot six times, including in his collarbone, side, back and neck. According to Haikal, at least two of those gunshots were at close range. The cause of death was also multiple gunshot wounds.

The trial will continue at 9:30 a.m. Thursday.

Contact reporter Shavonne Walker at 704-797-4253.

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