Defendant’s 1989 murder conviction can be used in new homicide case

03/20/2013 3:54 PM

03/20/2013 3:56 PM

A judge ruled Wednesday that Sedgwick County prosecutors can admit evidence of a defendant’s 1989 murder conviction when he stands trial next week for the 2011 slaying of a woman in Wichita.

Tyrone Walker, 47, is set to stand trial for first-degree murder in the strangulation death of Janis Sanders, 44, whose unclothed body was found June 4, 2011, between an abandoned house and a small business in the 1100 block of South Washington. An autopsy showed she had been strangled with a shoelace.

At the time of Sanders’ death, Walker was on parole for the murder of Tamara Baker, 25, who was reported missing on Oct. 31, 1989, and whose body was found six months later in a wooded area on the outskirts of Lawrence. Walker pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in that case and was sentenced to 12 years to life in prison. He was paroled to Wichita in February 2011, about 31/2 months before Sanders’ death.

District Judge Joseph Bribiesca ruled Wednesday that the cases are sufficiently similar to raise a reasonable inference the defendant committed both offenses.

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