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Mobile man loses appeal in murder case

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The state Court of Appeals has upheld the murder conviction of a Mobile man for his role in the 2004 shooting death of Patrick Anderson.

Desmond Walton, who was sentenced to life in prison in 2005, was one of five men accused in the slaying of Anderson at the victim's Rawl Springs home on June 1, 2004.

Prosecutors said Anderson was a known drug dealer and a member of the Black Gangster Disciples. Prosecutors said some gang members gave police the nicknames, and one possible real name, of potential suspects.

According to the court record, Jonah Pinkney turned himself in and gave investigators the names of Jerry Street and two brothers, Eric and Michael Love. Pinkney, Michael Love and Street testified against Walton, identifying him as the shooter, the court record showed.

In an interview with police that was played for the jury, Walton initially denied he shot Anderson. As the interview went on, Walton said he had gone to buy drugs, and during the drug deal, Anderson reached to his side or back and pulled out a handgun, and Walton said he shot Anderson in self-defense.

Prosecutors admitted that Walton was not read his rights before the interview and the trial judge erred in allowing the jury to hear the tape recording. Nevertheless, prosecutors said the action did not harm their case because of other evidence that showed Walton's guilt.

Walton did not testify in his own defense.

On appeal, Walton argued the jury should not have been allowed to hear the recording.

Appeals Judge Larry E. Roberts, writing Tuesday for the Appeals Court, said Walton's statement was not a confession. Roberts said while Walton denied the accusation of murder and claimed self-defense, the videotape was prejudicial to Walton's defense.

Roberts said the question was whether the other evidence was enough to convict Walton.

"We find beyond a reasonable doubt that he would have been found guilty. Three witnesses testified against him. Two testified that Walton shot the unarmed Anderson. Anderson was shot in the back. No weapon was found on, or near, his body. Walton presented no evidence in his defense. Upon this record, the jury had no basis to make any finding other than that Walton shot Anderson," Roberts said.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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