PM – Case Profiles

Rick Walker

In 1991, Rick Walker was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to 26 years to life in prison. The victim was Walker’s ex-girlfriend and fingerprints on evidence at the scene led police to Rahsson Bowers. Bowers named Walker as an accomplice. Three weeks into Walker’s trial, the prosecution announced a surprise plea agreement and Bowers testified against Walker. Years later, family friend and lawyer Alison Tucher located new evidence, including five witnesses identifying Marc Swanson as the killer. In 2002, the Santa Clara County Crime Lab matched DNA on evidence recovered from the scene to Swanson. Walker was released from prison after serving 12 years in prison and received an apology from the District Attorney’s office. Swanson pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and is now serving a 15 year sentence.

Gloria Killian

In 2002, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit overturned the murder conviction of Gloria Killian because Sacramento County deputy district attorney Christopher Cleland failed to turn over a letter written by the key prosecution witness, stating he had lied to put Killian behind bars. Killian was accused of being the mastermind of a murder and robbery plot and was convicted in 1986 primarily on the testimony of an admitted participant in the murder. The witness, Gary Masse, had been convicted of the murder and sentenced to life without parole; he testified at Killian’s trial that Killian concocted the murder, and he also denied that he had any kind of deal for leniency. Years later, Killian’s lawyers obtained a letter from Masse to the prosecutor that the prosecutor had never turned over to the defense, saying that Masse’s testimony implicating Killian was a lie. Killian won her release after 18 years in prison