Man who prompted 3 strikes law faces life in prison
FRESNO, Calif. (AP) -- A man who inspired California's Three Strikes law has been found guilty of beating his girlfriend — a third strike that could send him to prison for life.
Fresno County Superior Court Judge W. Kent Hamlin on Wednesday found Douglas Walker, 52, guilty of a felony charge of corporal injury to his girlfriend, along with three felony charges of dissuading the woman from testifying against him, the Fresno Bee reported .
Under the Three Strikes law, a defendant can receive a third strike for a serious or violent felony. Two strikes doubles the sentence, and the third strike results in a sentence of 25 years to life.
The verdict is the latest in a long criminal journey for Walker, who avoided a murder conviction in the June 1992 death of 18-year-old Kimber Reynolds by pleading guilty to robbery charges.
The killing of Reynolds prompted her father, Mike Reynolds, to create a ballot initiative for the "Three Strikes and You're Out" law, which mandates tougher sentences for repeat offenders in California.
Prosecutor Kelly Smith estimated Walker faces 102 years to life in prison when he is sentenced on Jan. 26.
But Fresno defense lawyer Eric Green said he plans to file a motion asking Hamlin to overturn some of Walker's prior strikes and give him a shorter prison sentence.
"He deserves to be punished," Green said, "but he should not spend the rest of his life in prison."
Walker received a nine-year prison sentence for his role in the Reynolds killing but was paroled after serving 4 1/2 years. Within a few weeks of his release, he violated parole and was arrested and sent back to prison.
He could have received his third strike — and a 25 years-to-life prison term — after being convicted of stealing a tool chest in 2003. He avoided the strike because a judge gave him the benefit of the doubt and a lesser punishment of 12 years and four months, court records show.
In November 2013, Walker was released from prison and placed on low-level supervision in Fresno. Three months later, police arrested him for hitting his girlfriend.