Murder suspect claims intruder gunned down girlfriend

benw@ledger-enquirer.comJune 21, 2014 

The man accused of gunning down his live-in girlfriend Tuesday claims an intruder shot Jessica Osborne at their Forrest Road home but police said that story doesn’t match up with other witnesses.

Vashon Walker, 23, pleaded not guilty to one count of murder and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime during a 9 a.m. Saturday Recorder’s Court hearing. Judge Julius Hunter ordered Walker held without bond in the Muscogee County Jail on the murder charge and bound the case over to Superior Court.

Police Detective D.J. Stokes said Osborne, 28, was found on the floor in the living room area when police entered the 4304 Forrest Road Home. Walker had blood on his shirt and pants shortly after the 7:18 p.m. call to the home.

In a statement to police, Walker said he was outside when he heard a sound inside after Osborne entered the home. Walker confronted the gunman and a struggle ensued. Shots were fired inside before the intruder fled.

Witnesses told police that Walker was seen in the back yard before police arrived at the scene. Police recovered a gun from the yard but didn’t disclose the caliber of the weapon. Shell casings were found inside the home and in the back of a 2007 Chrysler Sebring parked in front of the home.

Walker denied having a weapon and told the detective about being a felon. “I’m a felon,” Stokes told the court. “How am I going to have a gun.”

William Kendrick, the defense attorney representing Walker, questioned the detective on whether the house showed signs of a struggle and was blood on Walker. There was blood on Walker but the detective said he didn’t go to the scene until the next day.

Police Sgt. Mike Dahnke testified that he was on the scene Tuesday afternoon. The detective said he found broken ceramic pieces, the TV was knocked over and the coffee table appeared to have been overturned.

Kendrick asked officers why a gun powder residue test wasn’t performed on Walker to determine if he fired a weapon recently. Stokes said the procedure wasn’t done because of time that had passed after the shooting.

Using text messages from Osborne’s phone, police also said the mother of three young daughters had expressed a need to return home to Meridian, Miss., after moving to the area. The couple moved into the home on June 9.

Family members of Osborne gathered outside the courtroom after the hearing. Many were wearing purple T-shirts with a ribbon to call attention to domestic violence.

Quieonna Mitchell, a cousin from Meridian, said she noticed signs of withdrawl from Osborne, an indication of possible abuse in the family relationship.

“It was displayed some months, a few months ago,” she said. “I tried reaching out to her but you know it’s family and all you can do is support whatever decision they make.”

The family will be in Columbus until the autopsy is completed, then return Osborne to Meridian for funeral arrangements. Mitchell said the family will take care of her three daughters, ages 2, 7 and 9.

“It’s very hard,” she said. “It’s very hard.”

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