Lying in Wait

Raymont Walker

By: Jordan McNally

Raymont Walker was just 15 in 2006 when Kevin Harrison was shot and killed on West 13th Avenue in Homestead, Pa. A year later, Walker was charged with shooting at someone who witnessed Harrison’s murder on West Oak Way in Homestead. 

 

In 2010, Walker was found guilty on six of seven criminal charges brought against him:  

 

Criminal Attempt (victim: Kendall Dorsey): Guilty 

Criminal Attempt (victim: Michael Harris): Not Guilty 

Two Counts Aggravated Assault: Guilty 

Possession of Firearm by Minor: Guilty 

Criminal Conspiracy: Guilty 

Criminal Homicide in the First Degree (victim: Kevin Harrison): Guilty 

Walker’s story is a chilling and complicated one. 

 

On the night of Dec. 23, 2006, Walker and his friend Terrill Hicks showed up at Michael Harris’ house in Homestead. Walker and Hicks were convinced that Harris had robbed Hicks earlier that week. 

The main witness in the case, Kendall Dorsey, was smoking a cigarette on the porch of Harris’ home with their friend, Kevin Harrison. 

Ten shots rang out from across the street. One struck Kevin Harrison in the head, killing him instantly. 

No one involved was ever sure whether it was Walker’s or Hicks’ gun that actually shot Harrison. Both were charged. Both were sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. Since then, Hicks has tried multiple times to say he was the one that pulled the trigger. But the confession made no difference. 

However, in 2016, the law changed, and juveniles all around the United States began being resentenced. Under the U.S. Supreme Court decisions in Miller v. Alabama and Montgomery v. Louisiana, mandatory life prison terms for juveniles were deemed unconstitutional.  

At the time of the crime, Kendall Dorsey denied to the police that he knew who had shot Harrison. But four months after the murder, Dorsey went to police with details of the murder.  

After that, Hicks and Walker fired shots at Kendall Dorsey and Michael Harris, but this time nobody was injured. Police arrested Hicks that day. Hours later when the word spread in the neighborhood, Walker’s father made Raymont turn himself in to police. 

Walker and Hicks were charged for multiple crimes in April 2007. 

Raymont Walker’s lawyer is skeptical about what Dorsey actually witnessed. “You have witnesses, you know, that get into a bind, and all of a sudden the cops say, ‘help yourself out,’” said Frank Walker II (no relation to Raymont), who represented Raymont Walker in the trial. “I know such and such, and he did this and [the cops] follow up on it. In this case, the person [Raymont Walker] they tell on is then being charged with murder.” 

Walker II said that criminal defense attorneys see things like this every day. “They don’t come forward, they don’t come forward, then suddenly they have something to gain from it and then [the witnesses] do come forward and are like, ‘Oh yeah, I saw something. I saw it clear as day.’” Walker II said this police tactic is one of the reasons he thinks that the criminal justice system is unfair. 

Jasmine Madden, a classmate of Walker at Steel Valley High School, believes Walker didn’t kill Harrison. “From all that I’ve heard, there wasn’t any hard evidence, only the testimony,” she said. “I didn’t understand that concept.” 

 “Raymont was funny and always determined,” Madden said in an interview. “He’s all around awesome.” 

 

Madden and Walker have stayed in touch since he has been in prison. “When we talk, it’s usually just about me and my life,” Madden said. “I just ask if he’s okay, and I usually get the same response: ‘I’m livin’, just tryin’ to get the f*** out of here.’”  

Tammy Huchingson, one member of the jury that originally heard Raymont Walker’s case, talked about how hard it was for the jury to come to a decision. “It was sad. I think his age was one of the toughest parts to get through. I think that’s why we [the jury] held out for so long,” she said. 

The trial lasted four days before ultimately Walker was sentenced to life without parole. “It’s hard to be asked to make those kinds of decisions, because at the end of the day, you are still just a human being, too,” Huchingson said. 

As of April 2017, 79 juvenile inmates in the state of Pennsylvania have been resentenced. Of those 79 inmates, 20 have been released, while the rest are still serving time or awaiting parole. 

Though there has been no evidence to prove Walker’s innocence, Jasmine Madden is still hopeful. “I want my friend back,” she said. 

Walker, now 26, may not have to spend the rest of his life behind bars, thanks to the U.S Supreme Court decisions that made his mandatory life sentence unconstitutional. For now, he is just awaiting his hearing. 

He can hope the judge will take into consideration his age and Hicks’ confessions.