A 23-year-old West Ashley man will have the next 43 years in a prison cell to think about why he shot the woman who adopted him in the back of the head, then held a drug party in her house while her body lay in the bedroom.
Judge J.C. Nicholson on Monday sentenced Walker Wayne Pinkleton to 45 years without the possibility of parole, minus the 840 days he’s been in jail. Pinkleton, 23, pleaded guilty to murder Friday. The judge told him then that he would not sentence him to more than 50 years. If the trial went to jury, he faced from 30 years to life in prison.
Patricia Walker, 59, of Orange Grove Road, adopted her grandson when he was 4 to save him from a life of drugs and abuse.
Pinkleton was constantly in and out of trouble. As his dependence on drugs grew, so did his adoptive parents’ fear of him. They padlocked their bedroom door to keep him out.
He managed to get in one day in October 2012 while her husband was not at home. Walker’s mother became worried because she had not heard from her daughter in several days. Officers entered the house through a window on Oct. 14, 2012, and found Walker’s body in her locked bedroom. She had been dead several days, shot twice in the back of the head with her own .38-caliber revolver.
During the sentencing hearing, Nicholson asked Pinkleton what he did with the gun after he shot his mother. He said he sold it to a drug dealer named “L.”
Investigators said Pinkleton held a drug party in his mother’s house with the money he stole from her while she lay dead in the bedroom.
Pinkleton was arrested the day after they found his mother’s body when he was spotted driving his father’s Ford Excursion. He didn’t have permission to drive it because of his many traffic violations. He was initially charged with grand larceny, then with murder.
Pinkleton’s attorney, Ben Lewis, pleaded for leniency because of his troubled background.
“Walker (Pinkleton) really didn’t have a chance in this world to succeed ... because of where he started from,” Lewis told the judge, asking for 35 years.
Ninth Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson asked for the maximum because there was every reason to believe that Pinkleton would be just as dangerous when he got out of prison as he has been in the past.
“She was the one person who never gave up on him,” Wilson said. “We’re talking about the safety of the community.”
His adoptive father, Norman Wayne Pinkleton, addressed the judge briefly before the sentence.
“I’m sorry he threw his life away,” the elder Pinkleton said. “I’m sorry she’s dead. Nobody wins. Everybody loses.”
Reach Dave Munday at 937-5553.