By Julie Montanaro
February 13, 2014
A Tallahassee man opts to waive all his appeals in exchange for a life sentence.
Nathaniel Walker was found guilty yesterday of shooting and killing Victor Whitaker back in May 2012.
The jury was supposed to decide today if Walker should get life in prison or the death penalty for it.
But Walker made a deal instead to waive all appeals in exchange for prosecutors taking the death penalty off the table.
Whitaker's family is relieved that all the court hearings and trials are now over.
"We can't bring Victor back, and we don't - because vengeance is not ours, it belongs to the Lord, so we decided to collectively just do the life in prison," Whitaker's sister Roberta Golden said afterward.
Whitaker was shot and killed near the corner of Alabama and Harlem Streets while trying to break up a fight at a Memorial Day barbeque. Another man, Chevis Gay, was shot but survived.
The judge told Walker shooting Whitaker in front of his family - including many young children - will impact them forever.
By Julie Montanaro
February 12, 2014, 8:45pm
A jury has found Nathaniel Walker guilty as charged of first degree murder and attempted murder for a Memorial Day shooting near the corner of Harlem and Alabama Streets back in 2012.
Victor Whitaker was shot and killed as he tried to break up a confrontation between Walker and Chevis Gay. Gay was shot too, but survived.
The state is seeking the death penalty against Walker. The sentencing phase will begin tomorrow morning.
By Julie Montanaro
February 11, 2014
A Tallahassee man is now on trial for a deadly confrontation at a Memorial Day barbeque.
Nathaniel Walker could face the death penalty if convicted and jurors must decide if he was itching to pull the trigger or firing in self defense.
"Chevis fell to the ground and then he shot him, and then he shot twice, two more times."
Ersalyne Austin says she saw Nathaniel Walker shoot Chevis Gay near the corner of Alabama and Harlem that day. She took off running, she testified, until she heard another shot.
"And as I heard the gunshot I heard someone say, "Vic got shot," Austin testified.
Vic was her brother Victor Whitaker. He was shot and killed during a family barbeque on Memorial Day 2012.
Nathaniel Walker is accused of killing Whitaker when he tried to step in and stop Walker from firing any more shots at Chevis Gay.
"He was saying, 'Nate you was dead wrong for shooting 'sike' and then I heard a shot - BOOM! - and then I see Mr. Whitaker fly from here to your desk. He ain't move no more," Gay testified.
Gay was shot in the face and the leg. He testified he still has a bullet in his femur and walks with a cane because of it.
"Nathaniel Walker was a murder looking for a place to happen," prosecutor Jack Campbell told the jury.
Prosecutors contend Walker was looking for trouble. They say earlier in the day Walker told a friend at the corner grocery that he was going to kill somebody.
Yet defense attorneys claim those shots were fired when Walker tried to do the right thing and got sucker punched instead.
"He came to break up a fight...that was the intention," defense attorney David Collins told the jury, "and then things got stupid and horrible."
Walker is accused of murder and attempted murder. His trial is expected to last through Thursday.
By: Julie Montanaro
February 11, 2014
Tallahassee, Fla. -- Nathaniel Walker is now on trial for a deadly shooting at a Memorial Day barbeque in 2012.
Prosecutors say two cousins were arguing on Harlem Street when Walker intervened. One of the men, Chevis Gay, told him to stay out of it, prosecutors say, and punched Walker.
Gay testified that when Walker got up he reached in his back waistband, pulled out a gun and racked it over his head. Gay said "What are you going to do? Shoot me?" Gay says Walker then shot him in the jaw and in the leg.
That's when prosecutors say Victor Whitaker came up and tried to stop it. Gay testified Walker shot Whitaker in the chest.
Defense attorneys contend Walker was trying to break up that fight between cousins and got sucker punched in the face.
Defense attorney David Collins told the jury Walker fired in self defense. This was a good intention that went horribly wrong, Collins said. He told the jury this shooting was not premeditated and was not first degree murder.
UPDATED 7.2.2012 by Julie Montanaro
Nathaniel Walker has been indicted by a Leon County grand jury in the Memorial Day murder of Victor Whitaker.
That indictment was handed down on June 27th and prosecutors filed a notice of intent to seek the death penalty the very next day.
UPDATED 5.31.2012 by Julie Montanaro
A Memorial Day murder has prompted leaders in the Griffin Heights neighborhood to ask for a police substation.
A Tallahassee Police spokesman says TPD no longer has any substations. The closest thing is the bike squad office in the Lincoln Neighborhood Center.
Spokesman David Northway says TPD is not looking into establishing any new substations, because the cost of staffing them is too high and technology allows officers to do much of their work from their cars.
Former police chief Walt McNeil says at one time there were as many as five substations open around town. Two of them were fully staffed, one on the corner of Ocala and Tennessee Street and another at the corner of Magnolia and South Monroe Street. He says there were also mini-substations in three public housing complexes. McNeil says those were all closed because they were not cost-effective.
UPDATED 5.30.2012 by Julie Montanaro
Enough is enough. Community leaders who live near the scene of a Memorial Day murder are calling for big changes on the block. It comes the morning after the accused trigger man surrendered.
Victor Whitaker's last words may have been "Why did you do that?"
His picture is now nestled in a makeshift memorial of flowers, caps and balloons not far from where he was shot.
Nathaniel Walker is accused of pulling the trigger. He turned himself in down in Pasco County Tuesday night.
Just released arrest reports say Walker shot Chevis Gay and Whitaker made the fatal mistake of grabbing his arm as he walked away.
Chevis Gay is recovering from shots to the face and leg. He's hospitalized in good condition.
"It's a wake up call for everybody and everybody needs to just love each other and be peaceful," said Whitaker's friend Jacquelyn Harris.
"This is a community where elderly people live who have been here for the past 50, 60, 70 years and now they rest in their homes afraid to come out to the neighborhood store. Enough is finally enough," said pastor Rudy Ferguson.
Community leaders gathered at a church just 50 feet away from the scene of the crime. They called on folks who live in the neighborhood to step up and asked city and county leaders to help with specifics including a police sub station.
"The question is Mr. and Ms. Springfield and Griffin Heights, all those other neighborhood associations and people who live here, are you willing to do something about it yourselves?" asked Sharon Ofuani who heads up Big Bend Crime Stoppers.
A community rally is planned on Basin Street Sunday from 2 to 6pm.
This neighborhood is no stranger to violence. We checked the city's on line police stats.
They show that in the past six months, police have responded to 31 calls within just 500 feet of this crime scene.
If you widen the scope and check crimes within a quarter mile, it jumps to 130.
The bulk of them are disorderly conduct and drug offenses ... along with burglaries, batteries and assaults.
Tallahassee, FL -- May 30, 2012 - 11:10am -
A makeshift memorial now stands near the spot where Victor Whittaker was shot and killed Monday.
Chevis Gay was shot too, but survived. He is listed in good condition at Tallahassee Memorial.
The accused triggerman Nathaniel Walker turned himself in down in Pasco County last night.
To view pictures, click on the Photos tab above
Tallahassee, FL -- May 30, 2012 - 10am -
Probable cause for Nathaniel Walker is attached in PDF format above and below.
Tallahassee, FL -- May 29, 2012 --
Tallahassee Police Investigators have identified a suspect in the Memorial Day homicide. TPD has issued warrants for Nathaniel T. Walker in this case. Mr. Walker has turned himself in to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office and is currently in their custody and awaiting extradition back to Leon County.
Nathaniel T. Walker
UPDATED 7pm by Julie Montanaro
Tallahassee Police are now trying to track down the triggerman in a deadly Memorial Day shooting.
Two men were shot. One was critically injured and the other is dead.
Friends say Victor Whittaker was shot and killed when he tried to intervene in an argument.
A piece of crime tape hangs from a fencepost near the corner of Alabama and Harlem. This is where friends say Victor Whittaker lost his life on Memorial Day.
"It's a tragedy for everybody in the community and we hope everything is going to work out because a best friend of mine is gone now that we will never have again in my life," said friend Jacqueline Harris.
"It brought tears to me that an innocent man got killed. He's going to be missed. He's going to be very missed," said friend Patricia Huewitt.
Victor Whittaker's name is now posted on the church sign right down the street. It's the same church that hosted a town hall meeting a few months ago on ways to stop the violence.
"People just ... I don't understand their state of mind sometimes, going out doing stuff they got no business... (he was) trying to help other people. He end up getting killed," said longtime friend Kent Brenton.
Friends tell us Whittaker grew up in this neighborhood and often helped out at the All In One Supermarket at the corner.
He and another man were shot in the street at about 5:30 Monday night. Tallahassee Police will not confirm any names right now or comment on a motive or a suspect.
"I feel like he need to be punished, whoever did it, because I mean hey, it could have been anybody's kids. It could have been mine," Huewitt said.
We have not been able to confirm the name of the man who survived the shooting. So we have not been able to get an update on his condition.
The pastor of the New Birth Tabernacle of Praise has called a press conference to talk about the shooting and what can be done to prevent any more tragedies.
That will be at 1200 Harlem Street at 11am Wednesday.
If you have information on this shooting call Crime Stoppers at 850-574-TIPS.
UPDATED 2:30pm by Julie Montanaro
Friends tell us the man who was shot and killed near the corner of Alabama and Harlem Monday evening was Victor Whittaker.
A church right down the street has posted its condolences on the sign out front. It says "We Remember Victor Whittaker." It's the same church that hosted a town hall meeting on combating crime in January.
Friends and co-workers say Whittaker grew up in the neighborhood and often helped out at the All in One Supermarket on the corner.
A piece of crime tape hangs from a fence post. You can still see blood on the driveway and a beer can marking the spot where he died.
Friends tell us the other man who was shot had surgery this morning. We do not have an update on his condition.
Tallahassee Police are not releasing any new information about the crime and a TPD spokesman says he cannot confirm any names.
There were several police cars patrolling the area this afternoon. A TPD spokesman says officers are interviewing witnesses and following leads. A press release says they are attempting to identify the suspect.
The pastor of the New Birth Tabernacle of Praise, Rudy Ferguson, plans to hold a press conference with community leaders on Wednesday, May 30th at 11am to address the shooting. The church is located at 1200 Harlem Street.
Tallahassee, FL -- May 29, 2012 -- Noon - by Julie Montanaro
A Memorial Day shooting leaves one man dead an another fighting for his life.
Tallahassee Police tell Eyewitness News that they are looking for leads to find the triggerman, but they are not releasing any new information this afternoon.
The shooting happened Monday, May 28th at about 5:30pm at the corner of Alabama and Harlem, not far from the All In One Supermarket.
All we know is there was some sort of confrontation. One man is dead and another is in critical condition at Tallahassee Memorial.
Tallahassee Police are not releasing any names right now or discussing a possible motive.
As far as a suspect, TPD is not commenting on an arrest or releasing any type of suspect description.
The motive in this shooting is unclear.
About six months ago, a drug sting took place on Alabama Street.
More than a dozen people were arrested and 10 of them are facing federal charges.
Tallahassee, FL -- May 28. 2012 --
The Tallahassee Police Department is currently investigating a homicide which occurred at approximately 5:35PM this evening.
The preliminary investigation found an altercation occurred between several individuals in the area of Alabama Street and Harlem Street. The incident left one male deceased and one critically injured from an apparent gunshot wound. The injured individual is currently being
treated at a local hospital. TPD’s Criminal Investigation Unit is currently interviewing witnesses and following all leads.
TPD investigators are attempting to identify the suspect in this case. Community members with information about this case are asked to call TPD at 891-4200 or the Big Bend Crime Stoppers at 574-TIPS. Crime Stoppers does not want your name, just your information and you may be eligible for a cash reward. The names of involved parties are being withheld at this time.
Please remember, if you see something, say something, do something.