On Friday, for the second time in just over a year, Kurt Husted's loved ones filed into Pierce County Superior Court to talk about the murdered armored car guard and the people who killed him.
It appeared time had done little to soothe their pain or blunt their anger.
Husted's mother, sister and fiancee wept as they told Judge Bryan Chushcoff about the horrible loss they've felt since the 38-year-old Husted was gunned down in the Lake-wood Walmart during a June 2, 2009, robbery.
“There’s a big hole in our hearts,” said Husted’s mother, Janet Husted.
They did nothing to hide their contempt for Odies D. Walker, who planned the heist and drove the getaway car that day, or Marshawn Turpin, who grabbed Husted’s money bag once he went down with a bullet in his head.
“He is pure evil and should spend the rest of his life in prison,” Husted’s father, Ronald, said of Walker.
Then they sat quietly as Chushcoff handed down the sentences. For Walker: Life without parole plus 20 years. For Turpin: 47 years, seven months.
It was the second life sentence meted out in the case. Calvin Finley, who pleaded guilty to shooting Husted, received that sentence in March 2010.
One of the four principal players charged in the case remains to be sentenced.
Tonie Williams-Irby, who served as a key witness against Walker, is to be sentenced next Friday. Prosecutors will recommend 15 years for Walker’s ex-girlfriend, a former Walmart employee who provided inside information used to plan the robbery.
Husted was a motorcycle enthusiast working toward obtaining his helicopter pilot’s license. The 1988 graduate of Tacoma’s Lincoln High School had worked for Loomis for 16 years.
He and Deborah Bishop planned to be married in October 2010. Instead, Bishop told Chushcoff, she and Husted’s family visited his grave on that date. “Kurt is the man who made my heart and soul happy, the man I never got tired of talking to,” Bishop said. She called Walker a cold-blooded killer who took away a good man “so you could buy more things.”
Husted’s sister, Kirsten Talley, talked of losing her best friend and protector, a man who mentored her sons and made her laugh.
She expected him to call her June 2, 2009, to wish her happy birthday. Instead, she got a call telling her he’d been killed.
“I’m afraid to make plans now because I’m afraid of what horrible thing will happen,” she said. “Kurt’s sentence is a life sentence, and so is ours.”
Husted’s loved ones asked Chushcoff to sentence Turpin to the maximum, 51 years, five months.
Turpin’s defense attorney, Michael Schwartz, argued for less. He said his client, 20 at the time of the crime, was manipulated by the older Walker and Finley and deserved a chance at life outside prison.
“Every life is worth saving, including Mr. Turpin’s,” Schwartz said.
Given a chance to speak, Turpin, who previously pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and other charges, read from a statement hand-written on a yellow legal pad.
He said he was truly sorry for what happened and asked Husted’s loved ones to forgive him.
“I will apologize for the rest of my life, and it will never be enough,” he said.
Turpin, now 21, then told Chushcoff he planned to dedicate his life to being a better person and following God.
Chushcoff said he hoped Turpin, who had no previous criminal record, followed through with those intentions and handed down a sentence fours years shorter than deputy prosecutor Dawn Farina and Husted’s loved ones requested.
Chushcoff had no discretion when it came to sentencing Walker, 43.
A jury convicted him of the state’s highest crime – aggravated first-degree murder – and five other felonies last month. The only punishments available are death or life without parole. Prosecutors decided not to seek the death penalty for Walker.
Walker’s attorney, Philip Thornton, told Chushcoff there wasn’t much he could say on behalf of his client, given that the judge had little discretion in sentencing.
Walker said nothing when given his opportunity.
Chushcoff had a few things to say. He told Walker he struck him as an intelligent man who might have had a future once but that he let his selfishness and greed consume him.
“It’s hard to get one’s mind around how selfish you are,” Chushcoff said. “This is a thoroughly deserved sentence, and that’s a sad thing.”
With that, corrections officers led Walker off to a life behind prison walls.