CLINTON — The Iowa Court of Appeals has upheld the conviction of a Clinton man found guilty last year of fatally shooting his ex-wife and her boyfriend, claiming the evidence supports the conviction.

Maurice Walker Sr. was convicted May 16, 2006, on two counts of first-degree murder in connection with the April 12, 2005, deaths of 39-year-old Renee Walker, with whom he had nine children, and her boyfriend, 32-year-old Steven Kersey. Walker was accused of killing the couple in the apartment they shared at 550 Fourth Ave. South after the two came home from their jobs on the same shift at Néstlé-Purina in Clinton. He currently is serving two life sentences.

Walker appealed the conviction, claiming that the evidence was “insufficient to establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt due to the fact that all of the testimony establishes Maurice Walker was not present when the murders occurred,” his appeal states. He specifically claimed the state failed to rebut his alibi defense.

At the 2006 trial, which was held in Scott County due to pretrial publicity, investigators based their case on the belief Walker was not in Chicago at the time of the slayings as he claimed, but instead had driven through Chicago to Tinley Park, Ill., several hours before the deaths, checked in to the Sleep Inn Motel, drove back to Clinton to commit the killings sometime after 10:30 p.m. April 12 and then drove back to the hotel in Tinley Park, arriving there in the early morning hours of April 13.

But Walker maintained he went to Chicago on April 12 to get his passport renewed, tried to visit his ex-in-laws in Chicago who were not home, drove to Tinley Park at 5 p.m. and then came back into Chicago to do some sightseeing that night. He said he was back in the hotel room between midnight and 12:30 a.m. and asleep at 2 a.m. April 13. However, the hotel surveillance tape showed him checking in at 4:12 p.m. April 12, his van leaving the hotel parking lot at 4:50 p.m. that day and showed him coming back through the hotel lobby at 2:30 a.m. April 13.

Police also say a cell phone record indicates Maurice Walker was driving toward the Clinton area around 7:30 p.m. April 12. At the trial, Clinton County Attorney Mike Wolf said a call at 5:01 p.m. April 12 and another at 5:05 p.m. April 12 show he was moving west along Interstate 80 from Chicago to Clinton at the time and that the timeframe is consistent with the 21/2 hours it would take to travel from Chicago to Clinton.

A murder weapon was not found; however, Walker admitted he owned a Hi-Point .380-caliber gun. He said he transferred it to his ex-wife’s ownership in February 2005.

Prosecutors said the motive could have been money, since Maurice Walker carried a $1 million life insurance policy on his ex-wife, from whom he’d been divorced a year at the time of the killings, and also because he did not like Kersey and has said he did not want him around Renee or their nine children.

At the sentencing last year, Clinton County District Court Judge James Kelley denied Walker’s request to be granted new trial. Walker had sent a letter to Kelley in which he said his court-appointed attorney, Christine Dalton, had not introduced evidence that Walker stated would clear him of the murders. He also wrote he wanted to take the stand during his trial and that his defense attorney did not call any witnesses or himself to the stand in his defense. That portion of the trial lasted only four minutes.

The recent appeals court ruling indicates it agrees with prosecutors by stating “it is clear Maurice had the ability to drive to Renee’s apartment in Clinton before Everett Koehler heard the scream and popping noises at 11:15 p.m. Likewise, Maurice did not return to his Chicago hotel room until three hours and 15 minutes after Everett Koehler heard the suspicious noises. In total, neither his alibi defense nor the surveillance videos from his hotel prove that he could not have been in Clinton at the time of the murders.”

The appeals court also agreed that the DNA on a ski mask at the scene, the fact that he had previously owned a gun that was the same type of gun used to commit the murders, that a discharged bullet casing found at his home matched those at the scene of the murder and the plausible motives for the murders support the conviction.

Walker has 20 days to appeal the Iowa Court of Appeals ruling to the Iowa Supreme Court for further review.

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