No justice for Texas agent Sarah Anne Walker
On a lovely Texas summer morning in 2006, mother of two, Sarah Anne Walker went to work as a real estate agent in a new-home community.
She never returned home.
During that workday, Kosoul Chanthankoummane, a convicted felon paroled from North Carolina to Texas just four months earlier, entered the new home community, posing as a homebuyer. Walker’s mother, Carol, tells the rest of the story:
“In broad daylight, he beat her in the head with a wooden plant stand, strangled her, bit her on the neck like an animal, and stabbed her 33 times in the head, neck, heart and upper torso.
He stole her new Rolex watch . . .” He also stabbed her in the face, broke two teeth and her nose. Ten of the 33 stab wounds were, according to the forensic team, “immediately fatal.”
Chanthankoummane was captured and arrested two months later. Evidence included witnesses who placed him in the area, DNA left at the crime scene and a dental impression match from Ms. Walker’s bite wounds. Walker’s mother claims that he showed no remorse during the trial.
Slightly less than one year after his arrest, a Collin County jury found Chanthankoummane guilty of capital murder and he was sentenced to die by lethal injection. Until then, he lived on death row. In late 2010, the United States Supreme Court refused to hear his appeal.
As mentioned earlier, Chanthakoummane was on parole from North Carolina where he served nine years of an 11-year sentence for convicted of aggravated kidnapping and robbery. In 1996 he broke into the home of two elderly women, robbed them at gunpoint, tied them up and stole their car.
He was released early because of overcrowding at North Carolina state prison. He had only been in Texas for four months before taking Ms. Walker’s life.
As a juvenile, from stealing cars to several violent assaults, Chatnhakoummane was consistently in trouble with the law.
The day before Walker’s death, Chanthankoummane knocked on real estate agent Barbara Johnson’s door. He told Johnson that his car had broken down and he asked to use her phone. She not only complied, but allowed him inside to get a drink of water.
When he refused to leave, Walker called the police. Responding officers assisted the perp in getting his car started. There was no incident report filed.
So, in the years and days leading up to Walker’s death, the man who killed her built a trail of violence. The very morning of the murder he failed to show up at his probation office appointment. The day prior to the attack on Walker, he quite possibly targeted another real estate agent.
Chanthakoummane’s execution date was set for July 19, 2017. A Collin County trial court, however, is reviewing an appeal (concerning improper forensic evidence and other issues), so the execution has been postponed.
This isn’t the first time he’s cheated death – he was scheduled to die in January of this year but the execution was rescheduled for July. No reason was given.
Are you remaining vigilant?
All real estate agents are at risk of violent crime but, in nearly all attacks, according to the Washington Real Estate Safety Council, the agent could have taken measures to prevent the attack. Watch their video to learn more.
Most of the victims are female and robbery is the prevalent intent. Most of the victims were showing a home to what they supposed was a prospective buyer.
Protect yourself by:
Not getting personal on your business social media pages. Don’t give out personal information.
Ditto on your blog – save personal information for newsletters sent to verified contacts.
Take a self-defense class
If you decide to carry a firearm, take a safety class
Don’t advertising vacant listings as vacant
Always carry your cell phone when showing properties and have 911 on speed dial
Female agents should consider taking someone along when meeting male clients at a home.
When showing homes, always allow the potential client to go first while you follow behind. Remain in the doorways instead of entering rooms with the client
Finally, don’t ignore your gut feelings – EVER. Several years ago, in an interview with Inman.com, safety professional Andrew Wooten claimed that 99 percent of rape victims he had interviewed said that they knew something wasn’t right, but ignored that gut feeling.
Please stay safe out there.