A third murder case in Copiah County in less than one year resulted in the same verdict as the two previous: guilty. This time, the crime was committed during a robbery, and another young man will spend life in prison as a result.
Chance Walker, as of 2:45 p.m. on Wednesday, August 10, 2011, is a 24 year-old convicted murderer, found guilty in Copiah County Circuit Court on Wednesday of killing 32-year-old Enrique Ixcot
Ixcot, a Hazlehurst resident, was a native of Guatemala. Ixcot was found lying in his yard in a pool of blood on January 15, 2011. After paramedics were called to assist him, he was air-lifted to University Medical Center in Jackson. He died hours later on Sunday, January 19.
An investigation by Hazlehurst Police Department and Copiah County coroner’s office ensued. Coroner Ellis Stuart determined that the wounds Ixcot suffered were consistent with those caused by blows from a hammer. Days later, Police Chief Byron Swilley took Walker into custody only hours after Walker, who had served time in the Mississippi Penitentiary, had come to the police department to dissuade investigators that Walker had committed the crime. A tip from Crimestoppers helped nab Walker.
The State of Mississippi on behalf of Copiah County was represented by the District Attorney Alexander Martin and Lamar “Marty” Arrington, Assistant District Attorney. Their case was based on the fact that Walker, Netara Ellis, 18, Walker’s 17 year-old girlfriend at the time of the murder, and her cousin, Erica Sutton, 17, were riding around on January 15. Ellis and Sutton did not see Walker actually committ the crime, but they said he told them he did it. The State called Chris Granger, former Hazlehurst Police Department Chief Investigator, to discuss the evidence found and a pathologist from the state crime scene lab who testified to the brutality of the crime and the nature of the possible weapon–a hammer.
Walker’s defense team lead by Dan Kitchens, John Kitchens and Matthew Kitchens did not call one witness, but rather, built their case on what they believed were numerous discrepancies in the state’s case–one being the fact that the murder weapon was never found. Another was that Walker’s DNA was not found at the crime scene, nor was any of Ixcot’s DNA found on Walker’s person or in his car, house nor on any of his belongings.
Judge Pickard instructed Walker that he had a constitutional right to testify or not to testify without it being held against him one way or the other. Walker chose not to testify in his own case.
In the end, it was not enough to convince the jury that Walker was not guilty. The jury deliberated only briefly before finding Walker guilty of capital murder.
Walker was sentenced to spend the rest of his natural life in prison and was taken into custody immediately by Copiah County Sheriff’s deputies.