Richard Leroy Walker (Colorado DOC)

A truck driver passing through Springfield in the early 80's has been charged with second-degree murder and armed criminal action for the stabbing death of a woman twenty eight years ago.

Today, Greene County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Dan Patterson charged Richard Leroy Walker, 56, (who has been serving time in a Colorado Correctional facility since 2000 for sex crimes and assault) for the July 29, 1982, stabbing death of twenty two year-old Angela Baskin outside a Springfield motel.

Authorities found Baskin lying in the grass near the Villa Inn Motel at 2601 North Glenstone about 1 a.m. after someone in an upstairs apartment called cops to report screaming in the parking lot.  When police arrived, they found Walker shimming up an iron support railing and attempting to pull himself up to the second floor.

When the man noticed authorities arriving, he dropped down and began walking across the parking lot. 

According to court documents, "He said he wasn't aware of any problems at the motel complex; however, he then changed his story and stated....hurry the problem is around the corner!"

Police arrested Walker, who was a driver for Prime and staying at the motel in room #240, not far from the murder scene after he bolted from two officers after he gave them his ID.

Authorities later determined that the iron railing that Walker was attempting to climb up was directly above where Baskin was found and near Walker's room.

A friend of Walker's told detectives that Walker was wearing a sheath that held a knife and it was attached to his belt before he got kicked out of Wild Bill's Lounge.  Walker, was kicked out of the lounge that was next door to the Villa Inn Motel "because there were complaints from other patrons that he was getting too intoxicated."

A security guard at the lounge told investigators that after Walker was kicked out, he remained in the parking lot of the business for over an hour and then walked toward the motel.

When Walker was arrested, he was no longer in possession of the knife that had been attached to his waist.

At the news conference to announce the charges against Walker, Springfield Police Chief Paul Williams said there was not enough evidence to charge Walker with Baskin's death at the time of the crime.

That evidence changed for investigators on December 14th when Springfield Police Detectives Kevin Shipley and Todd King traveled to Arrowhead Correctional Facility in Colorado and Walker allegedly admitted to killing Baskin.

Angela C. Baskin
According to the probable cause statement, Walker first denied involvement in Baskin's death and said he had "very little recollection of what occurred prior to being arrested at the scene." 

The next day, on December 15th, Walker told the detectives that after he was kicked out of Wild Bill's Lounge, Baskin approached him in the parking lot and asked him if he could help her find some marijuana.  During the initial investigation in 1982, some friends of Baskin as well as patrons of the lounge told investigators that Baskin "made several inquiries for assistance in locating marijuana."

Walker told Shipley and King that he told Baskin he couldn't help her in locating any drugs and walked to the Villa Inn Motel parking lot where his truck was parked.   Walker said, "while he was bent over inside the cab of his truck repairing the electrical wires with his pocket knife, he was grabbed on the shoulder from behind, which frightened him and spun around with his knife still in his hand and began stabbing at the unknown person standing behind him."

"Walker claimed that after stabbing the subject an unknown number of times, he then realized the person was the same female that had approached him on the Wild Bill's Lounge lot looking to find some marijuana."

"Walker claimed the female victim then stumbled over to the grassy area at the corner of the building that contained his motel room where she fell to the ground, at which time he observed that she was bleeding heavily from the stomach area.

"Walker claimed that he then realized he had stabbed the female, at which time he began to panic, threw his knife into the field located behind his motel building and was walking away from the building when he was contacted by police."

Williams said the SPD have been in touch with Baskin's only living relative, her father, who is in his eighties and lives in Louisiana. She was originally from Carthage, Texas, and had moved back there after getting a divorce.  She had only been back in Springfield two weeks when she was killed.  Millsap said her son was killed in a car accident and that her ex-husband has also died.

Williams, Patterson and Lt. David Millsap refused to answer reporters questions on whether or not DNA helped them solve the case or whether or not any kind of weapon was used in the sexual assault that Walker is serving time for in Colorado.  They also would not comment on if they have recovered the weapon used to kill Baskin saying "it will come out at the preliminary hearing."

Katherine Sanguinetti, public information officer for the Colorado Department of Corrections says Walker was convicted of a sexual assault and assault for an incident in Adams County on October 3, 1999.  "He grabbed a knife and held it to her throat," she said.
Sanguinetti says Walker had no prior felony record before the sexual assault conviction in Colorado.  He is serving ten years to life in prison for the assault there. 

There has been no preliminary hearing nor arraignment date set for Walker's murder charge here and authorities aren't sure when he will be extradited to Missouri.  "We'll put a hold on him," said Chief Williams.
Chief Williams says in the last 40 years, there have been 268 homicides in the city-- 89% of those have been solved, leaving 29 active cold cases.