Originally created 09/06/00

Death penalty to be sought in case



District Attorney Danny Craig said he plans to seek the death penalty against three men charged in the 1998 slayings of an Evans couple.

Dag Luquinciette Rhodes, 23, and David Joseph Easterling, 29, both of Augusta, and Jimmy Lee Rhodes, who is serving a life sentence in Calhoun State Prison in Morgan, Ga., have been charged with two counts each of murder, two counts of burglary and two counts of armed robbery in the shooting deaths of Fred and Yong-Suk Walker.

The first of several pretrial hearings in the case is scheduled for 10 a.m. Friday at the Appling Courthouse.

Mr. Craig said he is seeking the death penalty in this case because the killings occurred during a burglary and an armed robbery, and because more than one person was killed. Those are three of the aggravating circumstances that must be present to seek the sentence under Georgia law.

The Walkers, who owned a Kissingbower Road liquor store in Augusta and a check-cashing business, were found shot to death in the bedroom of their home in Country Place subdivision. Their home had been ransacked.

It took investigators more than two years to make an arrest in the case.

According to state records, the most recent execution stemming from a Columbia County conviction was that of Ernest Albert of Augusta, who was electrocuted March 4, 1960.

Mr. Albert was convicted of the robbery and murder of a taxi drive in western Columbia County in February 1959.

Reach Ashlee Griggs at (706) 868-1222, Ext. 109