BLOOMINGTON — A verdict is expected Tuesday in a 2016 home invasion that a prosecutor called in "a heartbeat a double murder," based on the injuries suffered by a Bloomington couple during an armed robbery at their home.
But in his closing argument on Thursday, the defense lawyer for Alfred Walker called the state's case lacking sufficient evidence to convict the 41-year-old Bloomington man of attempted murder, home invasion, armed robbery and weapons charges.
After a two-day bench trial, Judge Casey Costigan said he will announce a verdict on Tuesday on the felony charges that could send Walker to prison for up to 120 years.
First Assistant State's Attorney Brad Rigdon argued that Walker is legally accountable for the armed robbery in November 2016 that left Kevin Powell with three gunshot wounds and his wife Darla bound with duct tape and locked in the trunk of her car.
"They are lucky they woke up from that nightmare ... they are lucky to be alive," Rigdon said of the victims.
The Powells told police three men forced their way into their home on Julie Drive after one of the men, posing as a pizza delivery person, came to the door. Investigators learned that Walker knew Kevin Powell from the victim's past history as a drug dealer who has become a successful local businessman.
"This wasn't a random act of violence ... this was a target," said Rigdon, referring to the suspects' demands for $40,000 in cash from the Powells.
The pizza box left at the home after Kevin Powell was shot links Walker to the crime scene, according to the state. A surveillance video from a convenience store shows Powell buying the pizza about an hour before the incident.
But defense lawyer Michael Herzog urged the judge to seriously consider Walker's version of events that depicts the suspect as the victim of a robbery by two men shortly after he bought the pizza.
The significance of Walker's phone records were disputed by attorneys for both sides.
Rigdon claimed Walker exchanged 17 calls with Jamal Parks, a Chicago man who died after he allegedly participated in the robbery, shortly before and after the incident. An FBI review of the phone calls puts Walker near the Julie Drive crime scene about the time of the break-in, according to the state.
But the timing of several calls during the time the suspects were in the home precludes Walker from being there, claimed Herzog.
The defense lawyer also argued that shots from two different handguns that hit Powell in the leg and arm do not qualify as an attempted murder. Given Parks' violent history (he was a suspect in a Chicago area homicide when he shot himself during a police chase), it's unlikely he would have left Powell wounded if he wanted him dead, said Herzog.
No other suspects have been arrested in connection with the armed robbery.