Tran Walker trial

Public defender Laury Lau, standing, gestures toward Tran Walker during the opening day of Walker's trial on first-degree murder charges on May 2. The prosecution said in a closing brief filed Wednesday that evidence proved Walker, 19, of Sioux City, is guilty of the stabbing deaths of Paiten Sullivan, 17, and Felipe Negron Jr., 18, both of Sioux City.

SIOUX CITY -- Shortly after being accused of fatally stabbing two Sioux City teenagers, Tran Walker offered no regrets for his actions, a police officer testified Friday.

Det. Nick Thompson said he interviewed Walker soon after he was released from a local hospital in the wee hours of Jan. 28, 2018.

Thompson recalled he asked Walker if he had anything to say to the families of the two victims, Paiten Sullivan, 17, and Felipe Negron Jr., 18.

"He said, quote, 'I would tell them, I would tell them that, I don't think I would apologize to them just because right now I don't feel sorry," Thompson said. 

The detective's testimony came during the second day of Walker's trial in Woodbury County District Court.

Walker, 19, faces two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Sullivan and Negron Jr., both of Sioux City.  

Police believe Walker stabbed Sullivan in a PT Cruiser near the King Koin Launderette in Morningside because he was upset about a recent romantic breakup with her. Negron was stabbed as he tried to protect Sullivan, according to court documents.

Sgt. Todd Sassman recounted that he knew Sullivan would not survive upon seeing her after the stabbing.

"I knew as soon as I looked at her that she was probably already deceased," Sassman testified.

During the trial Friday, prosecution and defense attorneys reached an agreement over the use of text messages sent by Walker and Sullivan prior to the stabbings as evidence. 

Mark Campbell, an assistant Woodbury County attorney, had Thompson read a set of messages from Walker to various acquaintances. 

"The only reason I'm able to smile and talk about my issues is Paiten," Thompson said, reading one of Walker's texts. "And if she were to cheat or leave me, IDK how I'd react. All I know is that it would be very bad." 

Walker also sent messages threatening to kill "witnesses," and, at one point, wrote, "I'd rather just have someone beat her a--, LMAO, bust her face in so she's hideous." 

Sullivan, meanwhile, expressed fear of Walker in some texts. 

"Tran, until you are better, we won't work. I love you to death, but FFS when you said that about killing (me), that scared me. I can't be in a relationship where I'm scared," she wrote. FFS is an abbreviation for an expletive-containing phrase. 

Campbell quoted another text message from Walker during the discussion about whether the pages of messages would be included in evidence.

"At the top it says, 'So she wants to say I'm controlling. Most guys (wouldn't) allow their girls to talk to their exes but I did,'" Campbell said, quoting from the text.

Defense attorney Jennifer Solberg argued that the authorship of the messages is not proven, that the recipients of the messages are unknown to the defense, that the messages are irrelevant and remote in time to the case and that they represent hearsay.

"There's different authors, there's people who aren't here, they're unknown that any of these things are actions or thoughts or who the author actually is, some of them are just people that have not testified," she told the court.

In the end, Judge Tod Deck agreed to withhold some pages of text messages from evidence but to permit others.

"The court believes that the records themselves are, (we are) satisfied that they are accurate representations of statements that were made on Facebook, so because of that the court does not believe that they would be excluded as hearsay," Deck said.

Walker's defense attorneys also have vociferously objected to the prosecution's bid to enter as evidence dozens of Facebook messages sent by Walker to various people prior to the slayings.

During the trial Friday, some employees of the Gordon Plaza Hy-Vee also testified about Walker's appearance at the store after the stabbings. Employees called 911 after Walker arrived bloodied and asking to use the restroom. He told an assistant manager that he had been jumped. 

Authorities arrested Walker in the store restroom, following a search through Morningside that involved the use of K-9 search dogs. After he was apprehended, he was hospitalized briefly after injuring himself in the alleged incident. 

Also Friday, the defense asked many of the witnesses about Walker's mental status in the hours after the killings. 

The trial is scheduled to resume Monday. Because Walker waived his right to a jury trial, Deck will render the verdict. If convicted of first-degree murder, Walker will face a mandatory sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

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