West Columbia, SC - Eleventh Circuit Solicitor Rick Hubbard announced today that a thirty-five (35) year old West Columbia man was sentenced to fifty (50) years in prison for the 2012 murder of his girlfriend, the mother of his child. After a six day trial, a Lexington County jury deliberated for an hour and a half before returning the guilty verdict, convicting David Richard Walker, Jr. of the murder of twenty-four (24) year old Catherine “Carrie” Banty of West Columbia.
Around noon on December 11, 2012, a neighbor found a three (3) year old female crying, upset, and wandering down Alexandria Street in West Columbia. The little girl led him to a nearby house where he found her mother’s lifeless body in the master bedroom. The investigation revealed that the child had been left alone in the house with her mother’s dead body for some time.
After jury selection, Tuesday last week, Walker demanded a “Stand Your Ground” hearing. At that hearing, Walker testified that he choked Carrie in self-defense approximately five times in the early morning hours of December 10, 2012. The State offered expert testimony from the forensic pathologist to contradict the defendant’s story. The Honorable Knox R. McMahon denied Walker’s motion for immunity from prosecution and the case proceeded to the jury.
In opening statements, which began on Thursday, February 23, Assistant Solicitor Shannon Davis, told the jury “that the last thing Carrie saw was the face of David Walker, his hands around her neck, choking her until her life slipped away.”
Testimony revealed that Walker lived at the residence with Carrie and their three (3) year old daughter. At the time Ms. Banty’s body was found, law enforcement was unable to locate Walker. Six days later, at approximately 10:30 pm, Walker, acting suspiciously at a closed business, was approached by members of the Aiken County Sheriff’s Department. At that time, Walker stated that he murdered someone and was taken into custody. The autopsy revealed that the cause of death was asphyxiation due to manual strangulation.
Although Walker, who represented himself, argued self-defense in both the pre-trial hearing and in his opening statement to the jury, he chose not to testify or offer any evidence during the trial. The forensic pathologist testified that death by manual strangulation takes approximately 4-5 minutes of constant and significant force. During closing arguments, Deputy Solicitor Shawn Graham arguing that Walker was “evil and his heart was filled with malice” used a timer to demonstrate the amount of time that Walker had to strangle Carrie to cause her death. Graham argued to the jury that after seconds Carrie lost consciousness and ceased to struggle, that after approximately one minute blood vessels burst in Carrie’s eyes, and that after four minutes Carrie was dead, and during all that time Walker continued to strangle Carrie.
During sentencing, which took place on March 1st, members of the jury returned to see the case through. At that time, Walker showed no remorse for his crime and told Judge McMahon that he “didn’t want to be associated with Carrie in life, and damn sure didn’t want to be associated with her in death.” After the sentencing, Solicitor Hubbard praised his staff and law enforcement for their hard work, and stated that “although nothing would bring Carrie back that he hoped the verdict and sentence would bring peace and closure to Carrie’s family.”