On April 28, 2019, metro Atlanta resident 37-year-old Carly Suzanne Walden called police to say that two men tried to rape her and her mother and then killed her mother, 57-year-old Andrea Walker.
Walden said the two men accompanied her and Walker home from a party, according to WSB-TV, before trying to rape the women and ultimately shooting the mother. Walker was found on a bed with a gunshot wound.
Very quickly, police became suspicious of Walden’s tale, after she told a deputy that the men also had female companions who were dancing on the ceiling fan. Police detained Walden and took her to the sheriff’s office for a formal interview, the outlet reported. At that time, Walden admitted that she accidentally shot her mother.
“During a hearing following her indictment, Walden told prosecutors that she had tried to leave the interview room and only said she shot her mother because she was under the impression she had been arrested, according to court documents,” WSB-TV reported. “Court records show that Walden did not try to leave the room before telling investigators she shot her mother. Records also show deputies told Walden several times that she was only being detained.”
After a four-day trial, Walden was found guilty of all charges, including “malice murder, felony murder, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, aggravated assault, possession of methamphetamine, and possession of amphetamine,” Law & Crime reported.
Last Thursday, Walden was reportedly sentenced “to life in prison with the possibility of parole plus 16 years in prison,” Newton County District Attorney Randy McGinley said, according to Law & Crime.
“The additional years were ordered to be served consecutively to the life sentence,” he added. “Pursuant to Georgia law, a life sentence on a murder conviction means that the person will serve at least 30 years in prison before becoming eligible for parole.”
“All murder cases are difficult, but those involving family bring with them additional difficulties. This conviction provides justice and some level of closure for Ms. Walker’s family,” McGinley continued. “I want to thank the prosecution team again for their hard work as well as the Newton County Sheriff’s Office, especially Investigator French.”
Clinton French was the sheriff’s office investigator who obtained Walden’s pre-Miranda warning admissions, which her defense was ultimately unable to suppress.
As Law & Crime noted, the Georgia Supreme Court ruled that the trial court actually erred by suppressing Walden’s statement about accidentally shooting her mother.
“Considering the totality of the circumstances, we conclude that the evidence did not authorize the trial court’s implicit determination that a reasonable person in Walden’s situation would believe that she was in custody when she was subjected to questioning by Investigator French prior to being given Miranda warnings,” the Georgia Supreme Court wrote in its May 3, 2021, ruling. “We thus conclude that the trial court erred in concluding that Walden’s pre-Miranda statements to Investigator French were due to be suppressed. We affirm the order to the extent that the trial court declined to suppress any other statements that she made.”