In January 1991, 35-year-old Quedillis Ricardo Walker’s ex-girlfriend was found murdered in her Cupertino, California home. Rahsson Bowers, the man police originally arrested for the crime, implicated several accomplices and named Walker as the primary culprit. Bowers testified at Walker’s trial in exchange for a plea to second-degree murder. The fingerprints found at the scene matched Bowers, but not Walker. However, the prosecution also found an acquaintance of Walker’s who was willing to testify in exchange for a reduced sentence on drug charges she was facing, that Walker had previously been violent towards her, and he had worn the type of gloves found near the victim. The prosecution withheld information from the defense about the plea deals they had reached with the two witnesses. Despite a lack of physical evidence connecting Walker to the murder, a jury convicted him of first degree murder in 1991, and he was sentenced to 26-years-to-life.
Following Walker’s conviction, a new attorney found five witnesses who would testify that Walker was not at the murder scene. In addition, several witnesses identified another man as Bower’s accomplice, and DNA testing on cigarette butts at the scene matched the DNA of that accomplice. Walker lost several appeals. In 2003, 12 years after his conviction, the Santa Clara District Attorney’s Office asked the Santa Clara County Superior Court to grant Walker’s habeas corpus petition based on the accumulated new evidence, and Walker was released on June 20, 2003. He eventually received over $400,000 from the state’s victims’ compensation fund and $2.75 million to settle the civil lawsuit he brought against the county.
- Stephanie Denzel