Crime

Suspect in fatal Wal-Mart shooting 'of interest' to Wisconsin police

RACINE, Wis. - A man charged with helping to mastermind the fatal robbery of an armored-car guard in Lakewood last year is a "person of interest" in a 16-year-old homicide in Racine, Wis., authorities there say.

Racine police have reopened the investigation into the killing of Kizzy Riley, 17, who was found shot in the head and left in an alley in 1994. Investigator Jim Prioletta said police hope witnesses unwilling to come forward before will do so now. Racine is about 30 miles south of Milwaukee.

The person of interest in the Racine case is Odies D. Walker, 42.

He is in the Pierce County Jail charged with aggravated first-degree murder and other crimes in the robbery and shooting death of Kurt Husted, who was gunned down June 2, 2009, at the Lakewood Wal-Mart.

Pierce County prosecutors allege he helped mastermind the robbery of Husted and served as the getaway driver after the deadly heist. Husted’s killer, Calvin Finley, previously pleaded guilty and is serving life in prison without the possibility of release.

Walker also is charged in Pierce County with soliciting murder. Prosecutors allege he tried to hire a fellow inmate to kill witnesses in the Husted case. He’s pending trial in both cases.

Walker is jailed in lieu of $7 million bail and has limited visitation, and screened mail and phone calls.

Walker, who Racine police say originally is from the Chicago area, lived in Racine at the time Riley was killed. He later moved to Washington state.

“From very early on he was identified as a person of interest,” Deputy Chief Art Howell said.

Howell and Prioletta did not release specifics about how or why they thought Walker was connected to the old homicide, except to say they believe Riley might have been killed because she had information on other criminal activity.

They also declined to say Walker was a suspect in the homicide.

Riley was found dead in an alley in the early morning on July 28, 1994, by a man taking out his garbage, according to archive stories from The Journal Times.

The teen had been warned at 12:30 a.m. by her grandmother, Bernice Riley, not to leave their home. Arthur Riley, 81, of Racine, said his late wife warned their granddaughter not to go out because they were worried about the people she had been hanging out with.

“A few days before this happened, she called me and told me that some people were trying to jump her,” he said of his granddaughter. “I advised her not to be hanging around those people. A couple days later, this happened.”

Newspaper stories from the time say Riley told her grandmother she wasn’t going far and would be right back. Six hours later, she was found dead. The purse she had left the house with was not found with her body.

An autopsy showed she died from a gunshot wound to the head.

At the time, police said they believed she had been killed at or near the spot she was found, as neighbors reported hearing a gunshot in the middle of the night.

Arthur Riley said he still hopes his granddaughter’s killer is brought to justice.

Staff writer Adam Lynn contributed to this report.

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