Police keep hoping for information in Knoxville man's 2009 murder

Police keep hoping for information in Knoxville man's 2009 murder

Lester Walton (source: Knoxville Police Department) Lester Walton (source: Knoxville Police Department)

6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - In March 2009, a Knoxville man was shot and killed while sitting on a couch watching a Lady Vols basketball game with his wife and mother.

Police are still searching for the person who killed Lester Walton, 66.

Walton was at his mother's house on Ashland Avenue when someone fired shots at the house.

His wife, Bernice, says Walton loved the outdoors and loved to travel. He was also passionate about cooking and was a member of the Elks club.

Walton had four children, eight grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren, who loved him very much.

He would have celebrated his 48th wedding anniversary this January.

Bernice says it's her family that helps her get through each day. "We had such a daily routine from the morning, reading newspaper, drinking coffee, and it is so difficult you know."

She says the night of March 5, 2009, they were having a fun evening watching the basketball game at Walton's 92-year-old mother's house.

Bernice says the shots were a complete surprise.

"At first, it startled me. It just startled me because it was so loud. I knew it was a gunshot, but I didn't have time to think so I hit the floor. I hit the floor, but when I looked up my husband was just sitting there. He wasn't slumped over or anything. His eyes were closed and I knew then that he had been shot."

Sgt. Tim Snoderly, with the Knoxville Police Department, is investigating the case. He believes the shooters may have been targeting the house next door, and made a mistake.

Walton's mother's home is green trimmed in white. The house next door is a white house trimmed in green.

Sgt. Snoderly says there had been another shooting in the neighborhood the night before. "We know that the people that were living next door to Mrs.Walton were involved in the shooting the night before or were in the area that night. There is speculation that what happened was in retaliation to that incident."

Since the shooting, Bernice Walton says the young people who lived next door have moved, and the house is vacant. Her mother-in-law now lives in a nursing home.

Police say the problem with this case is that there's not a lot of evidence. "I think we'll solve this. But I think it's going to take someone coming forward that knows what happened," Sgt. Snoderly says.

"Until I find whoever did this to my husband, that's the only way I think that I am going to be able to settle down. But now I am just taking it one step at a time," Bernice Walton says.

Anyone with information that could help solve this case should call 865-215-7140. There's a $10,000 reward being offered in this case.

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