Man who confessed to stabbing father with sword gets 18 years

Elias James Walker (provided)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- A year and six months after confessing to killing his father in his sleep, Elias Walker, 23, faced a judge Friday morning.

Walker pleaded guilty but mentally ill to voluntary manslaughter and a weapons charge. Attorneys said there is a history of mental illness in the family and that Walker was abused by his father who had schizophrenia and refused treatment.

"His stepmother, who's here in the courtroom today to support Elias, she said she had seen Tony beat Elias with a belt," his attorney told the judge.

According to police and court documents, Tony Walker, 45, was sleeping when he was fatally stabbed with a sword Sept. 17, 2012.

In court, a social worker testified Elias Walker believed his father had been trying to kill him his entire life. The social worker said the attack was a direct response to that.

"This was a very isolated, exclusive event perpetrated against the father who was the abuser," said Dicki Bourus, executive director of the Family Justice Center in Georgetown.

Walker's lawyers told the judge their client has been diagnosed with unspecified psychosis and autism.

The defense argued that because of the childhood abuse, he should be eligible for the state's domestic violence statute. However, defense attorneys were told the clause only applies to cases of spousal abuse.{}

Walker's defense team called the law unconstitutional, stating it did not give its client equal protection under the law.

During the September 2012 incident, Walker was found outside room 21 of the Fort Moultrie Motel, wearing socks that had blood on them, investigators wrote in the report.

Court documents say Walker stabbed his father in the chest and neck, and then called 911 while his dad was lying on the floor of their motel room.

Investigators noted in the report that Walker seemed un-phased by the death of his father. At one point, an investigator who interviewed him at the hotel asked Walker if he had been drinking or doing drugs because he seemed so calm.

Police say he later confessed to killing his father.

Walker was sentenced to 18 years in prison plus five years of probation. The judges ordered that he must continue to take his medication.

The judge said he wanted to wait to hear Attorney General Alan Wilson's position on the statute's constitutionality.