Percy Levar Walton murdered three people in the same neighborhood in Danville, Virginia, in two separate incidents.
Two of the victims were an elderly white couple, Elizabeth and Jessie Kendrick. While burglarizing their home, Walton shot both of them at close range in the top of the head.
Walton murdered a young man, Archie Moore, in his home by shooting him above his left eye. Although the physical evidence alone overwhelmingly established Walton’s guilt, Walton also admitted to several other jail inmates that he committed the murders and described the graphic details of the murders to his cellmate.
Two mental health professionals determined that Walton was competent to stand trial, i.e. that Walton understood precisely the charges against him, he knew that evidence was required to convict him, he was able to assist his lawyers in his own defense, and he realized that he could get the death penalty for his crimes.
Based on this evidence and the fact that Walton had told at least two of his fellow inmates that he intended to "play crazy," Walton’s counsel ultimately decided not to pursue further a claim that Walton was incompetent to stand trial or plead guilty.
With the assistance of counsel, on October 7, 1997 Walton pled guilty to all three murders, three counts of robbery, one count of burglary, and six counts of using a firearm in the commission of a felony.
After determining that Walton would likely commit additional criminal acts and would be a continuing serious threat to society, the Danville Circuit Court sentenced Walton to death for the three murders.
Walton was no stranger to crime before he murdered these three people. His prior convictions include burglary, grand larceny, resisting arrest, assault and battery on a police officer, juvenile possession of a firearm, and assault and battery. The state trial court sentenced Walton to death.
Walton has tried to play the mental retardation trump card so popular among condemned inmates these days, however, his IQ score in 1996, shortly before he turned 18, was 90 - well above the accepted threshold for mild mental retardation of 70.
On April 21, 2006 the Danville Circuit court set Walton’s execution date for June 8. Hours before his execution, Gov. Tim Kaine ordered a six-month reprieve and authorized an (((independent and nonjudicial examination))) of Walton’s mental state. On Dec. 4, 2006, Gov. Kaine ordered a second reprieve; this time for 18 months, until June 10, 2008.
"I am compelled to conclude that Walton is severely mentally impaired and meets the Supreme Court's definition of mental incompetence," Kaine said in a statement. "At the same time, it is within the realm of possibility -- though unlikely -- that Walton's mental impairment is not permanent. Accordingly, a commutation of his sentence is not appropriate at this time.”
The jew Dr Ruben Gur of the University of Pennsylvania then testified to Walton’s impaired mental state.