A Lithonia man was sentenced to life in prison on Nov. 7 for killing his girlfriend and then shooting a responding officer from the DeKalb County Police Department (DKPD).
Jurors previously returned guilty verdicts against Otis Dennis Walker, 32, on charges of malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, three counts of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony. The charges were in connection to the murder of Aleka Simmons and the shooting of DKPD Officer Derek Nunn.
DeKalb Superior Court Judge Yolanda Parker-Smith—who presided over the trial—sentenced Walker to life without parole plus 65 years to serve consecutively on Nov. 7.
The fatal incident occurred at a home in the 4800 block of Hodgdon Corners Cove in Lithonia in August 2019. DKPD responded to a 911 call of a person shot. A news release states that when officers responded, they were fired upon by Walker and Nunn was struck four times. The officers retreated, SWAT was activated, and they reapproached the residence to check on the shooting victim.
Simmons was in an upstairs bedroom with a gunshot wound to the chest and was pronounced dead on the scene. Nunn was transported to Grady Memorial Hospital where he received treatment for his wounds. He recovered from his injuries, according to the news release.
According to the investigation, a few hang-up calls were made to 911 from the residence the evening of July 31, 2019. Information from the investigation states that around midnight, Simmons called 911 and said, “This is Aleka Simmons […] if anything happens to me…” The dispatcher could then hear arguing in the background and Simmons asking, “Are you threatening me? You’re gonna kill me?”
DKPD responded and left after finding the home dark and quiet with no evidence of a disturbance.
Information from the district attorney’s office states that Simmons intended to talk to the police about the tension between she and Walker—who had previously been arrested for battery involving Simmons—which prompted Walker to shoot her.
Walker’s mother and two minors from the home that Simmons was shot in fled the home and went to a neighbor’s house to call 911. Nunn—who had responded to the earlier call—returned with two additional officers. The news release states that as the officers approached the front yard, Walker began shooting at the officers—striking Nunn—before escaping into the woods.
A manhunt ensued; Walker was arrested on Aug. 8, 2019, by the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office Fugitive Task Force and DKPD. On his person was a signed apology to Nunn and DKPD for his actions.
At trial, Walker claimed he acted in self-defense when he shot Simmons and insisted that he only shot toward the ground at responding officers to provoke them to shoot and kill him. The news release states his claims were disproved by the shots that hit Nunn and a shot that pierced the second floor of a neighboring home.