Guilty verdict in Morehouse torture-murder case

Miles Allen admits he was one of four who beat Carlnell Walker

A former Morehouse students faces two life sentences after a jury found him guilty of torturing and killing a classmate.

Miles Allen, 24, was convicted on 11 of 12 counts in connection with the deadly attack on Morehouse junior Carlnell Walker.

The jury returned guilty verdicts Friday on four counts of murder, three counts of aggravated assault, kidnapping, false imprisonment and burglary. He was acquitted of an armed robbery charge.

The verdict came after less than three hours of deliberation.

Clayton County Superior Court Judge Deborah Benefield will sentence Allen on Monday. He faces two life sentences plus 60 years, Clayton Executive Chief Assistant District Attorney Jason Green said.

“It finally gives a voice to Carlnell Walker, who has not had his side of the story heard,” Green said after the verdict. “These people are not what they tried to present themselves as - meek, quiet students. They are savage, merciless and very violent.”

Allen was one of three people charged in the murder. The other three, including two other Morehouse students, are awaiting trial.

Allen, a former theology student, stared straight ahead and showed no emotion Friday while the jury ran down the list of guilty verdicts. His attorney, Herbert Adams Jr., said he plans to appeal.

“It was an uphill battle and that’s often the case when you have a gruesome crime scene,” Adams said.

Prosecutors spent this week detailing the eight-hour attack, which ended with Walker being doused in gasoline and left to die in his car trunk.

On Thursday, jurors heard Allen tell detectives that he and his friends repeatedly punched, stabbed and stomped on Walker. They hit him on the head with a hammer. After cutting off the victim’s dreadlocks, the group stripped Walker to his boxer shorts and dumped gasoline on him, threatening to set him on fire, Allen said in a taped interview with police.

Allen and his friends then bound and gagged Walker. They put him inside the trunk of his car, parked in the garage of his Riverdale home, Allen told police.

Detectives found him two weeks later, on July 8, 2006. The victim’s mother Peggy Walker, who was in California, called police concerned about not hearing from her son, a business major who always called home, prosecutors said.

An autopsy showed he died from hyperthermia because of the extreme heat.

On Friday, prosecutors declined to identify a leader amongst Allen and the other defendants: Keith Roberts, Breylon Garland and Theodore Holliman.

“We don’t feel the murder could have taken place without the participation of all four,” Green said.

But Allen’s attorney said prosecutors had the most evidence against Allen, including his handprints on Walkers’ wall. The handprints contained the victim’s blood, police said.

Allen’s only defense in his case was that he was coerced by his friends and stupidity.

“He did not have specific intent to kill Walker,” Adams said about his client.

Prosecutors said the four men were looking for money when they attacked Walker. The 23-year-old Morehouse tennis star had been in a car crash a few months prior to the attack and had bragged about a financial settlement, Green said.

The verdict came after the judge denied a mistrial request by the defense attorney. Adams complained prosecutors violated a gag order in the case by talking to reporters. The judge said she found no evidence of a violation.

Green, a Morehouse graduate who will also prosecute Allen’s co-defendants, said he was saddened that not only is Walker’s life gone, but other Morehouse students’ cut their futures short.

“You expect the folks who have the opportunity to better themselves will maximize those opportunities,” he said.