Monday, February 28, 2011

The Story of the Murder of Daniel Edward Walker and his daughter, Kara Walker.

MSgt Dan Walker, USAF, Retired; and his daughter, Kara Walker.

The Story of the Murder of Daniel Edward Walker and his daughter, Kara Walker.

Police Record Statistics:
October 5, 2000, 8:15PM, Hacienda Apts, Tucson, Arizona. Daniel Renwick, 27, fatally shot Kara Walker, 19 (b. April 20, 1981, Keflavik, Iceland), and Daniel E. Walker, 55 (b. May 7, 1945, Brisbane, Australia). Kara’s 15 month old son, Caleb, (b. August 10, 1999) was in the back safety seat of Dan Walker’s SUV Mercury Mountaineer.

Daniel Edward Walker was the older brother by eighteen months of Edward D. “Rusty” Walker. That's me; he was my only sibling. My family and I called him “Danny” until he joined the Air Force and announced he was simply, “Dan.” A career military, non-commissioned officer in USAF, he served in Thailand as an air traffic controller during the Viet Nam war, bringing in helicopters, bombers, jets and bomber-jets from sorties in North and South Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia, some hit, some on fire, low or out of fuel; he never lost a plane. He was stationed in other locations including Korea, Iceland and many bases stateside where he taught ATC. Dan realized his dream of being a family man, when he had his son, Michael Walker. Later, a daughter named Katie. Mike and Katie were grown up had their own families by the time Dan retired as master sergeant. Dan had begun yet another family with two daughters, Melissa and Kara, and with his wife Vicki, they all moved to Tucson, Arizona. There he used his managerial and operational project management skills from the Air Force to start a new career as an operations manager. He had a generous salary working for a national seminar firm where he traveled to different states most of the week where he organized a set-up crew as well as being the announcer/master of ceremonies at seminar speaking engagements.

The Father
Dan was a family man raising his two daughters, Kara, eighteen, Melissa, sixteen. Like many teenage girls, as Kara reached junior high and high school, increasingly she had been rebelling and hanging out with the wrong crowd, many of us remember this risky time of age for ourselves or our children, and the difficulty of wanting to be independent before we are ready. By the time she was eighteen, she had become pregnant and unsure of the father of the child. Although there was a lot of love in the house, Dan thought his long trips away from home through the week, might have had some bearing on discipline issues. It is hard to say, but he certainly provided well for his family. Kara's behavior improved as she matured.

The Daughter
The birth of Kara’s son had a stabilizing affect on her. She was looking for a mature life in which to raise her son. Years later I found some notes she had written to her dad around that time that were loving and respectful missives from an obviously happy, young lady. At the time of the birth of her child she thought that perhaps her live-in boyfriend, Dan Renwick was the father. Neither of them was sure of this, but later DNA tests confirmed that in fact he was not the father. Dan Renwick and Kara were going to raise the child as their own. Kara agreed to continue the relationship if Renwick would agree not to drink or take drugs. Renwick was clean and sober the relationship went smoothly. However, she broke off the relationship when his on-again-off-again drug use became a problem.

Spousal Abuse
What follows is an arrest record. Couples often do not recognize the abusive relationship they are in. The wife in denial, the abusive partner after fits of violence, makes up, swears he will change, and things will be different- here is such a relationship, that no one might have suspected would end in the murder of two people:

Kara Walker and Dan Renwick were married 1996 and divorced 1998.
Police Record related to this incident and escalation of incidents:
Sheriff’s report on Dan Renwick:
1997 – using a telephone to threaten or terrify
1997 – disorderly conduct
1998 – pleaded guilty – unlawful sale or possession of marijuana
2000 – arrested for assaulting Kara*; Kara filed order of protection (January 13, 2000)

*January 13, 2000 Kara’s report, “he suffocated me, punched me, kicked me, grabbed me, and screamed at me calling me several names.”
January 25, 2000 Kara asked for dismissal of charges to “work this out;” The justice system tried to protect her: Dismissal was denied by court.
The year 2000 was the year that Dan Renwick murdered Kara Walker, and her father Daniel Walker.

The Murders

On October 5, 2000, Dan was driving his eighteen year old, daughter Kara to see her new boyfriend in Tucson, Arizona. Kara wanted her Dad to meet him for the first time. Kara had her fifteen month old infant son, Calib (b. August 10, 1999) in the back safety seat of Dan Walker’s SUV Mercury Mountaineer.

Although there was a police restraining order in affect, Dan Renwick called on Vicki Walker, Kara’s mother, Dan’s wife, asking where Kara was. “Dan [Renwick] was acting respectful and normal, and did not seem to be under the influence.” Vicki later stated, it was for this reason, she divulged where Kara and her father were going. Immediately upon Renwick’s departure, Vicki called and warned Dan Walker on his cell phone of Renwick’s possible arrival at their location, and that perhaps they should not go. Dan fateful answer to Vicki, “Don’t worry, if Dan show’s up I’ll call 911.”

As father and daughter arrived at Hacienda Apartments, the new boyfriend was looking down from the upstairs window to witness Renwick emerging from his truck and approaching from behind as they attempted to pull into a parking space. There was an exchange of words through the car window; Renwick pulled out a .44 and shot Kara twice in the face, instantly killing her. As Dan Walker reached for the glove compartment for his cell phone, Dan Renwick shot him twice, once in the head and once in the chest, and fled.

My brother was alive when the paramedics arrived- the boyfriend had called 911. Dan Walker was DOA at the hospital. Although the baby had been close to gunfire, he was unharmed. This entire post-homicide scene was captured on film for the television program “Cops.” This program utilizes video cameras that follow police officers during duty hours and captures criminal arrests and crime scenes live, airing them later on the Real-TV crime show.

Renwick had fled in his truck to his cousin’s house, brandishing the .44 he had used to kill Dan and Kara. His cousin pleaded with him to turn over the weapon, which he did. He cousin then called the police, as Renwick vowed not to be taken alive. As police surrounded the house, Renwick attempted to flee by driving through the police barricades across the driveway. He was shot several times by police and critically wounded after bursting through the garage door in an attempt to smash through the police blockade. Police report: “1AM sheriff’s deputies fired at him when he attempted to run over them.”

The Trial

Dan Renwick recovered from wounds and awaited trial in the county jail. During this time, there were episodes of drive-bys in front of Vicki Walker’s house, the mother of Kara. The driver was disguised and waving a pistol; yelling out not to take the stand against Renwick and various insults; This was thought to be Renwick’s drug-involved mother. The police were called and provided protection through the ensuing months. Renwick was on trial for first double, degree murder with the possibility of special circumstances -endangerment of child. Renwick’s defense plea was double, second-degree murder, as he claimed on the stand that he went there to shoot himself in front of Kara, and changed his mind at the scene.

I did not attend the trial, as there was no doubt about the evidence and Renwick’s guilt, and I did not want to endure the lies from Renwick; I attended the sentencing to speak on my brother’s behalf, as most of the families were speaking on behalf of the deceased mother and child, I was there chiefly to remind the defense and court of my brother's death and what it meant. The human interest story of the a beautiful eighteen year old mother shot and killed, leaving the baby who had been endangered with gunfire was dramatic media attention. Dan was a secondary part of such a story. Even the attorney for the accused said in my presence to the entire courtroom, “We often forget that there was the father of the victim, who was also killed, Dan Walker.” I wondered why the defense lawyer would say such a thing. I later decided the attorney knew I was the brother who was there to speak before sentencing and he may have wanted to convey his awareness of the deceased father, so that his client might benefit from a display of sympathy in front of the brother of the victim. It struck me less as sympathy and more as a manipulative defense trick.

As I took seat at the table provided in the front for addressing the judge and the defendant on the sentencing stand, I broke down and cried; they brought me some water; it took a while to compose myself, the judge said to take my time; after a moment or two, I was able to speak. I first addressed the attorney’s remark, by saying, “I want to say to the attorney, as you stated, ‘we often forget, Dan Walker’s life was taken’…I want you to know, that there is never a day that I do not remember that my brother was murdered; It isn’t something I am ever likely to forget; The attorney nodded respectfully.

I then turned to Dan Renwick who was crying on the stand, “I look like my brother, don’t I?” Renwick nodded, “Yes, you do.” “Dan, I want you to know, I do not hate you, I can see you are upset at what you have done…Dan…you knew my brother, you knew him, I can’t believe you knew him and would kill him; you knew he was a good man, and Dan, the problem is, you can’t bring him back! [I turned to the judge]…And for that reason, your honor, I am requesting the maximum sentence….and, your honor I am sorry I am so upset, it has been hard to all this out.’

The judge said, “Mr. Walker, you have nothing to be ashamed about, you did well here today, and there are many ways to be eloquent and you certainly were in your way.” The judge did not disappoint me; She turned to Dan Renwick after I had left the front table, and said the following:
“Dan Renwick, please stand. In accordance with the provision I have previously read to you, it is the sentence of this Court that you be committed to the custody of the Arizona State Prison at Florence, which commitment shall be deemed to be for the maximum sentence of imprisonment prescribed by the law; twenty-two years for the second degree murder of Kara Walker; and, twenty-two years for the second degree murder of Daniel Walker; to be served consecutively; in addition, due to the special circumstances of child endangerment, you shall not be eligible for parole.”

Escape From Prison,

July 30, 2010 :Dan Renwick, Tracy Province, John McCluskey escaped from the Kingman Prison -- with the help of McCluskey's fiancee/cousin Casslyn Welch -- on July 30, 2010.

Renwick and two other men escaped on a Friday evening by cutting a hole through a perimeter fence at the Arizona State Prison in Golden Valley, about 90 miles southeast of Las Vegas. They kidnapped two semi-truck drivers at gunpoint and used their big rig to flee. Dan Renwick, serving doble life, Tracy Province, was serving a life sentence for murder and robbery, John McCluskey, serving 15 years for second-degree murder, aggravated assault and discharge of a firearm. Forensic evidence also linked the three escapees to the killings of an Oklahoma couple, whose remains were found in a charred camper Wednesday morning on a remote ranch in eastern New Mexico. All were eventually apprehended.

U.S. Marshals find their Escapees

The escapees held a truck driver at gun point, and high jacked his truck. U.S. Marshals found them and brought them back and they are now remanded to maximum security in a state prison. On a Sunday, August 1, 2010 a police officer spotted Daniel Renwick, 36, in a brown sport utility vehicle in Rifle, Colo., some 670 miles from the medium-security Arizona State Prison in Golden Valley. The officer pursued Renwick, gunshots were exchanged, and the convict was eventually taken into custody without anyone being injured. Authorities have also arrested the mother of escapee John McCluskey, Claudia Washburn, in Gila County for having provided aid to two prison escapees and their accomplice.
Here is John McCluskey being caught by Federal Marshals.
Investigators looked into 700 tips from nearly every state in a manhunt that had officers swarming into small towns from Montana to Arkansas, said David Gonzales, U.S. marshal for Arizona.

He had no remorse officers said..

"We have great concerns that there was laxness on the part of security staff at this private prison, but I'm going to allow the investigation to run its course," said Ryan, who plans to meet with prison officials in the next day or two.” said Charles Ryan, director of the Arizona Department of Corrections.
Being a family Victim of a Violent Crime

People often do not know what to say when I recount my tragic story of Dan and Kara Walker. Good caring people do not need to take on the sad feelings; there is really never anything anyone can say. At least the justice system worked. No one wants pity and as a victim recounts things, they often do not feel victimized in the sense of, “how could this happen, why me, why Dan and Kara?” One is left with a new understanding that these tragic events don’t just happen to other people. It leads to some caution in the world- that it is dangerous world, and precautions under domestic abuse issues, and normal everyday occurrences to be aware of surroundings. I have a greater appreciation for the justice system, the police and U.S. Marshals.

There is the healing process. I did go to a therapist for a few sessions. There is the psychological phenomenon to deal with, the initial feelings of horror, outrage, hate and revenge. This can dissipate over a short period and you process grief; replaced with feelings of sadness and loss remains. The first feelings are rage and anger; perhaps the wish to retaliate. But, the abiding feeling is of loss and helplessness in realizing you, no one, can bring them back. So, there is this deep loss that gets better with time but will always be there; that, hole in the heart that stays. Manifests itself in occasionally thinking about the loss and crying to a special song, a photo; the little things, memories. Feelings are closer to the surface now. But, above all, the victim must forgive, to move on.

So, what do we feel about the perp? I gave away hatred. This was not helping me. It eats at you. However, an odd realization was that in my case, the concept of “capital punishment won’t bring back my brother and niece,” doesn’t seem to be a rational denouement with me. The internalization of justice to me, means, he should be put to death. I forgive him, but, I could pull the switch myself. It wouldn’t even be in anger. It would be a sense of justice, in my mind. Can I live with him in prison for life, instead of the death penalty, and be at peace? Sure. Definitely. I just prefer the death penalty.
My apologies if this sounds uncivilized.

I used to love watching horror movies. I can’t watch them now. I experienced horror, so now I can’t watch horror movies. I have an interest now on real life crime series, “First 48 Hour” “48 Hour Mystery,” real prison shows, real Swat team shows, and “Dateline.” [Not “Cops,” because my brother’s event was captured and filmed on ‘Cops” and I am afraid I will come across a re-run of it sometime.]

The American justice system, law enforcement and our security system is something I believe in. The police, firefighters, marshals, ATF, SWAT, the military- those on the front line, are people I admire. I always go out of my way to say I appreciate their service. And, if they are in uniform I slip the server money for their dinner if in a restaurant (I leave without telling them who paid, so it is about the honor, not about the person who paid). Men and women in uniform in the U.S. are there to protect us-they can't save us all-and somethimes they can't save themselves from danger that surrounds their daily work. Authorities did a good job putting Renwick away.

David Gonzales
Tribute to the man who found my brother's murderer: US Marshal David Gonzales.

Whether Christian, Muslim, Sufi, Jew, or Hindu, Holy Days are time for counting your blessings. I count one of mine today: U.S. Marshal David Gonzales. My friend Allison Guerriero who knows many of the ATF guys knew of David and found him for me. Thank you, Allison, or I wouldn’t have known. These brave warriors of justice venture into harm’s way, then, go home to their families. No one knows who they are.
Imagine for a moment: You receive a phone call; you hear that your brother, Daniel Walker, was murdered in cold blood. Then, moments later the same voice tells you your 19 year old niece, Kara Walker, was also murdered- both shot, not once, but twice each. How do you feel? Anger, vengeful, devastation, helplessness. Who do you count on for justice? Year October 5, 2000, Tucson Police caught him in less than an hour, stood trial, 44 years, no parole…then, he escaped.

Who do you count on when a murderer and his cell mates, (Dan Renwick) then escapes from prison in 2010 with fellow murderers, one who teams up as a modern day “Bonnie N Clyde” - Casslyn Welch and John McCluskey, who then murder innocent couple Linda and Gary Haas, both 61, in Oklahoma where their charred skeletal remains of were found in their burnt-out caravan.

There are fifty states and 311,591,917 souls. Where are they? Shall I look unto the hills from whence cometh my help…before they get across Mexico or Canada? After a three-week manhunt that crisscrossed the American west, US marshals found them. Marshals, Rangers and SWAT officers who surrounded the pair. Who was behind the manhunt- U.S. Marshal David Gonzales prior Arizona Department of Public Safety, Phoenix, AZ, Commander, Chief of Staff August 1995 to April 2002). He told me he was very familiar with Renwick.

U.S. Marshal David Gonzales - Has done it all- but, mostly, he and his team caught my brother's and my niece's murderer-

He is an Executive Fellow - FBI, Washington, DC (1996) - top secret security clearance.

Testified before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on Federal Street Gang Legislation; Interim Chief of Police in City of South Tucson and in Bullhead City, Arizona; Member of Arizona Juvenile Justice Commission; Drug and Gang Policy; Latino Police Officer Association; Arizona Highway Patrol Association; International Association of Chief of Police; Arizona Chief of Police; Member of International Motorcycle Gang Investigators Association- worked undercover-

Thanks, Marshal Gonzales for all you do for U.S. safety of citizens and victims of crimes...and for caring.

Life goes on…but, Victims never forget. We do not forget! The Walker’s and friends of Walker’s salute you! Your family should be very proud of you.

I also have an understandable, reserve and caution around young men involved with my daughters. It takes a while for me to allow them over to meet the “Dad.” My daughters respect this. We all deal with these things in our own way I suppose. The hurt, remains, but diminishes over time.

Kara message to her Dad on the back of the photo at the top of this page; This is the reason family photos are so important to take and preserve, one often thinks these things happen to other people, but, they can happen to you.

Tragedies have lessons; violent deaths are very instructive about life. I took away these lessons:

1. Make sure you tell those you love, you love them, because you’ll regret it if they are snatched from you before their time.
2. Abusive relationships need to be recognized as something that will only get worse.
3. No one is coming to save you, so use caution, because it can happen to you.
4. God cannot protect you from the free will of others who choose evil as their path.
5. Ultimately, one has to forgive the perpetrator in order to live with yourself in peace.
6. Don't take the things you care about for granted.

Dan and I together when he arrived back from Thailand serving USAF as Air Traffic Conroller bringing in bomber-jets, and helicopters Phatoms jets, often hit, on fire, low, or out, of fuel returning from sorties over Laos, Cambodia and North and South Vietnam- he guided them in and never lost a plane.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Dan Walker and the legless Rodeo Clown gets Wheels

This story is about the unexpected generosity that happened when my older brother, Dan Walker was around.

SSgt Dan Walker was stationed in Mississippi while being trained to be a USAF air traffic controller, later to be deployed to Thailand during those heady days of the Viet Nam war in 1969. He had moved off base and found his neighbor was an ex-rodeo clown, who had lost both of his legs a decade earlier. Charlie had been depressed and home-bound for ten years. As Dan got to know Charlie over the months, he asked about the milk truck that was abandoned and disabled in Charlie’s driveway.

“You can have it, if you can fix it.” Charlie said.
“I don’t want it, Charlie! But, if I get it runnin,’ would you drive it?”
“Well, how are you gonna do that?”
“Leave that to me, Charlie.”

Dan explained to me later,
“Rusty, I reached into that engine and pulled out a fistful of wires- like spaghetti! I had to figure out where they went; rewire every single one of those. Then I had to convert the gas peddle and brake to a hand lever system, so Charlie could use one hand to steer and the other to accelerate or brake.”

Dan devoted his off-hours to this project and after several months he had it converted to a hand-driven vehicle, pumping on all cylinders.
On that day, Charlie was out on his front porch drinking a beer.
“ ready for a test drive?”
“Well, I don’t reckon I am!”
“Why not!”
“Well, I can’t get into it, and I don’t know how to drive anymore!”
“Charlie… I’ll show you how get in, it’s easy, and I got hand controls, so you can drive it.”
“Can’t do it, Dan!”
“Charlie, I spent all this time fixing it up, the least you can do is sit in it!
“…Well, I reckon I could do that.”

So, Charlie hoisted himself up into the driver’s seat using the handles Dan had welded on. Dan explained to him how to reach down using leverage, swing up the wheelchair into the back, using a hook, lever and pulley system that snapped into place that Dan had rigged up. After explaining the brake and acceleration mechanisms, Dan asked:

“Well, Charlie, you gonna fire it up?” Charlie turned the key and it started rumbling and rattling. Charlie broke out in a sweat. The truck was shaking, Charlie was shaking, and with a combination of fear and paralysis, he bellowed over the loud engine, “Dan, I can’t do this; I can’t do this!”

So, Dan reached over and slipped it into first gear; the truck lurched forward with a bang, and shimmied and groaned down the driveway for several feet, and then gave out just as suddenly. Charlie, now on the edge of panic, insisted they get out. So, turning off the engine, they dismounted and retired to the front porch. Dan found two cold beers and they settled in, both of them looking at that old milk truck. Sitting there in silence for a while, Charlie finally said:

“Dan, I’m sorry, you went and done all this work and now here I am worthless, and can’t drive it.”
“Charlie, it’s your first time out.”
“Dan, I am not getting back in that truck, I’m sorry, but I just can’t do it;”
“Look, Charlie, how ‘bout we just drive it in the driveway; that’s all…just drive it in the driveway?”
“It’s been too long, Dan, I’m sorry! It’s just too much for me.”

Okay, Charlie.

Dan went home figuring this might have been the biggest waste of time since he had gone turtle hunting all weekend, only to find out from the FBI who turned up at his front door, that turtles are a government-protected species in Mississippi - but, that’s another story.

Next morning, there’s Charlie sitting in the truck.
“Say, Dan, I reckon I could drive it …down this driveway!”
Dan got in with a smile, and off they went.
Explaining it to me later, Dan said,
“Rusty, he must have drove that truck 50 times up and down that driveway. Drive up, put it in reverse; drive it back. He was having the time of his life.”

After a few days, Charlie yelled over to Dan,
"Say, when are we going to drive this thing to the store?”
“The store? Well, Charlie WE aren’t going to drive it anywhere. You’re ready for a solo flight. YOU are going to drive it to the store. You know everything you need to know. How ‘bout you go off right now and I’ll be waitin’ here for you when you come back?”
“That’s it Dan! You fixed this thing up for me – I’m drivn' it to the store if it kills me. If I don’t make it back, it’s been a real joy!”

Off Charlie went.

Time went on; more time; way more time than it takes to get to the local grocery store. Dan starts to thinking, “here I went and fixed this truck up, what if it breaks down, or gets in a wreck?” Dan goes in to get his keys, only to look back; here comes Charlie, puttering and sputtering down the road in his Milk Truck; a load of groceries in the front seat.
He had taken the long way back.

Charlie was driving for the first time in ten years. He was no longer home-bound. Charlie had wheels.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Nobility of teaching

Sometimes I wonder whether a profession, art in my case, or teaching brings the higher moral legacy. Another one of my students (circa, 1989), went on to be a Fox Animator and successful multimedia professional, just contacted me: “Well, you have really been a blessing in my life.” Here is his site:

Monday, April 6, 2009

Child of the 50s

The experiences that inform my patriotism is founded on my relentless attempts at a scholarly immersion into history, my stateside and world travels, and my belief in the American family, not as an icon, but as a unit willing to fight for its freedoms.

My brother and I were typical 1950s kids growing up in post war American Dream suburbia – in Texas for a while, then Okinawa, military-brats, the term for kids of a career military man- the two boys, Danny and Rusty, well behaved or justified spankings followed, growing up on hamburgers and "co-cola," jitterbug dances and hayrides, surrounded by country woods, catchin' crawdads down in the "crick," in the holler’; church on Sundays, walking home, listening to the "negro" churches along the way, with their heavenly sounding gospel; walking to school across railroad lines, pastures with bulls, Herefords and Longhorns, raccoons and opossums, getting bit by farm dogs, and pretty girls in skirts when we got there; sounds of the times, Elvis, Sam Cooke, doo wop and air raid drills.

These were the prosperous Eisenhower years; then, America repairing itself from within, John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King. I related to both of them. But, they died too young, and no one could be too naive after that, Viet Nam, notwithstanding -the good guys always die too young. We saw the real change of civil rights progression in this country.

By the 60s, I was fortunate in being able to travel the world and finally study abroad, graduating from art college in Australia. My studies in graduate school taught me to read widely, think deeply, and take notes and research and check sources, before forming an opinion. Consider the other side, always. I have lived the American dream.

Now I caution those I see mindless of their great prosperity, not to forget how fortunate we are in this country, notwithstanding economic hardships. My travels have taught me that this is the greatest, most innovative, industrious and compassionate country in the world. However, we have also proven to be naïve and have a short term memory with regards to our historical aggressors. There are great and disastrous Democrats, and inspiring and woeful Republicans, so our common struggles should be bi-partisan, but, alas, this is not proving to be as promised.

So, the reason for the blog is to network with open-minded people. We need to preserve our liberties, our American identity, and protect this country from extremists of all kind, in our neighborhoods, and in high government places - within our borders, outside our borders; welcome Mexican immigrants, but impede illegal immigrants; Certainly, welcome Islam, as all religions are welcome; but remember it is fundamental Islamics,the Taliban, al Qadea, and LeT, who train and send suicide bombs against men, women and children, still, and stone disobedient wives; God Bless America.