A man who fatally stabbed a real estate agent inside a model home in the suburbs of Dallas will be executed Wednesday night, more than 16 years after the murder.
Kosoul Chanthakoummane was on parole when he was found guilty of murdering 40-year-old Sarah Walker in July 2006.
Prosecutors say Chanthakumane entered the model home, beat and stabbed Walker with a wooden flowerpot, then stole a Rolex watch and silver ring, but they were never found. DNA evidence indicated that Chanthakman’s blood was found in various locations within the model house, including under Walker’s claws.
Walker was a top seller for home builder DR Horton. She is recently divorced and has two children.
Chanthakoummane, 41, the son of immigrants from Laos, confirmed he was in the model’s house but said he only went inside to drink water. He had been released on parole in Texas after serving time in North Carolina on aggravated kidnapping and robbery charges.
In a letter filed in federal court in March, Chanthakoummane said, “I am innocent.
His lawyers have asked the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals to stay his execution and challenge the DNA evidence. An appeals court this week denied the request. Eric Allen, one of Chanthakoummane’s attorneys, said he had not yet decided whether to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
His lawyers argued that new science could have transferred Chanthakumane’s DNA into Walker’s claws without direct contact.
But officials say previous DNA tests in his case failed to clear Chanthakumane.
Attorneys from the Texas Attorney General’s Office said in court documents last month, “Chantakman’s belief that further DNA research will yield useful results in his case is illusory.
On Monday, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles refused to give Chanthakman either a 120-day reprieve or a commutation of his death sentence.
Chanthakoummane’s attorneys say their concerns about DNA evidence are part of prosecutors’ pattern of using false evidence in the case.
At the Chanthakoummane trial, a forensic dentist testified that a death row inmate was responsible for Walker’s neck bites. Such evidence has since been discredited, and in 2016 Texas became the first state to seek a ban on bite analysis in criminal cases.
Two witnesses who said they saw Chanthakoummane near the murder scene were hypnotized to identify him by Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) officers.
According to a 2020 report by the Dallas Morning News, despite criticism that hypnosis distorts memory and can lead to wrongful convictions, most Texas judges still refuse to use evidence derived from hypnosis. I admit In January 2021, DPS stopped using hypnosis. Last year, Gov. Greg Abbott vetoed a bill banning hypnotized people from testifying in criminal trials.
In October 2020, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ruled that although the bite testimony is no longer admissible in court, Chanthakman’s attorneys failed to discredit testimony related to hypnosis.
The appeals court also ruled that the DNA evidence remained strong.
At his trial, Chantakmain’s attorney, Keith Gore, told the jury that his client was guilty and that “he wanted to rob (from Walker), but it didn’t work and he robbed her. I killed him,” he said.
Walker’s father, Joseph Walker, who died last year, opposed Chanthakman’s execution and told the Times-Union in New York in 2013 that he had forgiven his daughter’s killer.
If Chanthakoummane is executed, he will be the second person on death row in Texas this year and the ninth person on death row in the United States.
Texas, the state with the highest number of executions in the nation, is at a historically low level. The number of death sentences handed down by juries continues to decline, and most executions have been delayed in recent years due to the pandemic and legal issues regarding what spiritual advisors can do in the death chamber.