WARNER ROBINS -- The death penalty is off the table for a Montezuma woman accused of slaying her elderly aunt and cousin.
David Cooke, district attorney for the Macon Judicial District, said he filed a notice Tuesday to withdraw the prosecutions intent to seek the death penalty for Lillian Walker. She is charged with the stabbing deaths of her 85-year-old aunt, Lillian Graves, and her 65-year-old cousin, Agnes Stewart, both of Fort Valley, in June 2009.
Under the agreement with Walker, the prosecution may seek a sentence of life without the possibility of parole if Walker is convicted, Cooke said. The only other sentencing option is life with the possibility of parole.
The agreement also calls for Walker to be tried before a judge instead of a jury.
The move to drop the death penalty allows the case to move to trial more quickly, with a trial date expected in August or October, Cooke said. Death penalty cases, with additional statutory requirements, generally move slowly through the judicial process.
The decision not to seek the death penalty took into consideration the desire of the victims families to move the case more quickly and their personal views against the death penalty, Cooke said.
Although the district attorneys office decides how a case is disposed of, Cooke said he weighs the familys input when making such decisions.
Superior Court Edgar Ennis is expected to hear the case in Peach County.
We look forward to the day when we can bring this case to trial and achieve justice for the family ... and the community, Cooke said.
In the attack on the women in their home on Fort Valleys Daniel Drive, Walker allegedly rifled through their purses to steal cash, checks, credit cards and prescription drugs. Walker also was accused of stealing Graves Jeep Cherokee.
Graves, a retired nurse, had recently turned 85. Stewart, a retired Peach County High School teacher, was a deacon at St. Peter AME Church in Fort Valley and a former president of Fort Valleys Habitat For Humanity chapter.
Burt Baker, a supervising attorney with the Georgia Capital Conflict Office, declined to comment.
To contact writer Becky Purser, call 256-9559.