Former co-defendant: NY murder suspect should be forgotten

In 1999, Justin Walter and another teen made 'hit list' of fellow students in Holland

Justin Walters
A July 2017 mug shot of Justin Walters of Zeeland. (New York State Police)

HOLLAND, Mich. (WOOD) — More than 17 years before he allegedly shot and killed his wife and a New York state trooper, Justin Walters wrote a ‘hit list’ targeting some fellow students at a Holland middle school and tried to get a weapon.

The list written by Walters and another 15-year-old ninth-grader at Macatawa Bay Middle School was discovered in December 1999. Both were convicted of conspiracy to carry a concealed weapon and ethnic intimidation — the latter count because some of their classmates were targeted because they were minorities.

Walters’ former co-defendant is now in his 30s and still lives in West Michigan. Obviously uncomfortable talking about the past, he agreed to speak with 24 Hour News 8 Tuesday only on the conditions that his name not be used and his face be concealed. He said he served time in juvenile detention for the crime.

“It’s not something that’s was going to happen, that I was going to do or anything,” he said of the list. “It was just being a kid, doing stupid stuff, you know, and I got caught up in it and that was the end of that. I paid for it and now I’ve moved on.”

He said he lost contact with Walters soon after the case and hasn’t spoken to him in years.

Authorities say Walters, now a 32-year-old staff sergeant in the U.S. Army, shot and killed his wife, Nichole, and New York State Police Trooper Joel Davis on Sunday evening before surrendering to police. The motive behind the shootings is still unknown.

“I was not very shocked. At the same time, I was. It’s a shame for that family and hopefully he gets put away for a long time and doesn’t get out,” his former friend told 24 Hour News 8. “I think everybody should just forget about him and he should not even be mentioned, and he should just go away and nobody should ever remember him.”

Walters waived his preliminary hearing Monday and the case will now go to a grand jury, though a date for that hasn’t been set.