Memphis, TN- After a six-day federal jury trial, Keaton L. Walls, 37, of Clarksville, Tennessee, was found guilty of kidnapping, interstate stalking, and using a firearm to commit interstate stalking. Joseph C. Murphy Jr., United States Attorney, announced the conviction today.
According to information presented in court, on November 23, 2016, Walls drove from Clarksville, Tennessee to a residence in DeSoto County, Mississippi, where his ex-girlfriend lived with several family members. Armed with a Norinco AK-47 style automatic rifle, Walls fired at least 10 shots from the front yard into the home’s living room window. Four of the seven people inside the house suffered gunshot wounds, and one of those victims lost his leg due to the shooting. The victims were not able to see the shooter, and Walls fled the scene before law enforcement arrived. DeSoto County Sheriff’s Department personnel recovered six spent shell casings as evidence.
Less than 18 months later, on April 20, 2018, Walls kidnapped his ex-girlfriend, her five-year-old daughter, and her boyfriend at gunpoint from their apartment in Memphis, Tennessee. He forced the victim to drive them in her car to a nearby location, where Walls’s vehicle was parked. He retrieved an AK-47 style rifle from his car and put it into the trunk of the victim’s car. After that, he ordered the victim to drive back to her apartment, where he forced her to lock her daughter inside the apartment by herself. He then ordered her to drive to a house in Marshall County, Mississippi where Walls’s relative lived. During the drive, Walls threatened to kill both victims and hit them with one of his two pistols. When they arrived at the house, Walls forced both victims out of the car, onto their knees, and fired three gunshots past their heads.
After arguing with several family members about whether he should release the victims, Walls directed both victims back into the car. He forced the female victim to drive the car into Shelby County, Tennessee, where officers were able to stop the car, arrest Walls, and
rescue both victims. Forensic ballistics testing showed that the AK-47 style rifle in the car’s trunk matched the spent shell casings recovered from the November 23, 2016, shooting in DeSoto County, Mississippi.
"The prosecution of individuals who commit violent crimes is a priority for the United States Department of Justice," said Joseph C. Murphy, Jr., United States Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee. "Public safety is a paramount concern for our office, and we will aggressively prosecute individuals who commit violent crimes that endanger the safety of the people living throughout West Tennessee."
"The cooperative efforts among Federal and State partners made it possible to bring a violent stalker and kidnapper to justice," said Douglas M. Korneski, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation Memphis Field Office. "The FBI and fellow law enforcement will continue to combine our resources and share our expertise to target those who hope to commit similar heinous acts."
A sentencing hearing is scheduled for September 8, 2022, before United States District Judge John T. Fowlkes, Jr. Walls was convicted of four counts of kidnapping, one count of interstate stalking, and one count of using a firearm to commit interstate stalking. He faces up to life in prison. There is no parole in the federal system.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the DeSoto County Sheriff’s Department, the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, and the Memphis Police Department.
Assistant United States Attorneys Tony Arvin and Murre Foster are prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.