BOSTON, Aug. 12, 2013—The state’s highest court today upheld the first-degree murder conviction of the man who killed 65-year-old Galina Kotik inside her Fenway residence, Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said.
In a decision written by Chief Justice Roderick Ireland, the Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the conviction of STEVIE WALKER (D.O.B. 2/25/63) in Kotik’s Nov. 4, 2005, homicide. A Suffolk Superior Court jury convicted Walker in 2007 after evidence in a six-day trial proving that he acted with extreme atrocity or cruelty when stabbed the retired physician to death in the Massachusetts Avenue apartment to which she had recently moved.
In his failed appeal, Walker claimed that he did not act willfully and voluntarily when he waived his Miranda rights and made statements to Boston Police homicide detectives on Nov. 6, 2005. His hunger and exhaustion, he argued, overcame his free will.
The justices rejected that claim, however, and ruled that the trial judge acted properly in allowing jurors to hear those statements. The high could found that detectives offered Walker water, which he declined, and then a sports drink. Walker ate some but not all of the snacks detectives provided and later “ate but did not devour” a sandwich, Ireland wrote.
Walker did comment that he was tired during the interview and closed his eyes prior to answering some questions, but the justices determined that he was coherent and responsive throughout the interview and that he was not under the influence of crack cocaine or alcohol during the interview.
“The various facts that the defendant argues rendered the waiver of his Miranda rights involuntary do not require that conclusion,” the decision states.
The SJC found that Walker’s rights were violated when detectives informed him of his right to make a phone call only after the completion of the interview, but the justices ruled that this was an unintentional violation and that Walker would have been aware of his right to make a phone call based on his prior experience with the criminal justice system. The error did not require the evidence to be suppressed, the justices found.
The justices also found no error in the trial judge’s instructions to the jury.
At his trial in December 2007, Walker did not deny that he killed Kotik or that certain blood and hair evidence found inside the victim’s apartment matched his DNA. Instead, he claimed that he was not criminally responsible due to an underlying mental health condition. Jurors, however, found that he was responsible for his actions when he stabbed Kotik in the neck inside her apartment, which was upstairs from the apartment of a female friend of Walker.
Evidence showed that Walker signed into the building the day prior to the murder and spent the day smoking crack cocaine and drinking alcohol. He left the apartment for the purpose of picking up a paycheck, but he instead proceeded upstairs to Kotik’s apartment. Neighbors heard screaming from the apartment and attempted to gain entrance, but the door was locked. A building manager was able to open the door, where she found Kotik’s body and observed Walker inside a bathroom. A physical struggle ensued before Walker was able to flee the building. He fled to a nearby garage and hid in a storage closet, where he was unintentionally locked inside. He broke free two days later, on Nov. 6, and turned himself in to police with blood still on his hands and clothing.
Assistant District Attorney Sarah Montgomery of the DA’s Appellate Division argued the case before the Supreme Judicial Court. The Commonwealth was represented at trial by Assistant District Attorney Mark Hallal. Walker was represented on appeal by Elaine Pourinski.
All defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.