Mother of 1997 stabbing victim ‘totally shocked’ that son’s killer is suspect in Sunday slaying

Arnell Walker was stunned Monday when she heard that the man acquitted in her son’s death six and a half years ago was a suspect in a weekend shooting at a Lawrence apartment complex.

“I pray that this information is wrong,” Walker recalled telling a friend.

But before Monday ended, Walker’s worst fears were confirmed.

“It was just a total shock that it happened again,” she said in an interview Tuesday.

Walker’s son, David E. Walker II, 23, was stabbed by Lafayette Damon Ester Cosby during a fight Nov. 1, 1997, at Colony Woods apartments, 1301 W. 24th St. David Walker died a day later. During a trial, Cosby argued he acted in self defense, and a jury acquitted him of both voluntary and involuntary manslaughter.

The incident was especially upsetting because Cosby had been a family friend who often accompanied them for dinners and other events, Arnell Walker said. Though she disagreed with the verdicts, she got on with her life.

But early Sunday morning, during a party in an apartment at Jefferson Commons, 2511 W. 31st St., someone shot and killed 28-year-old Robert T. Martin. Police investigators determined Cosby was their suspect, and he was arrested Monday night in Topeka.

Arnell Walker said she also knew Martin, and while it might be ironic that his death came virtually on the anniversary of Cosby’s acquittal, she said she had no opinion about whether that might have been intentional.

About three years after her son was killed, Arnell Walker encountered Cosby at a funeral both were attending at Ninth Street Baptist Church, 847 Ohio. Afterward, outside the church, Cosby spoke to Walker and asked her to forgive him.

“I said, ‘Honey, I’ve already done that,'” Arnell Walker said.

Cosby then said he planned to be a minister, and Walker said she encouraged him to do so.

“We can’t do anything about David; David’s life is done,” Walker said she told Cosby. “God is a God of second chance. David’s life is over, but you get a second chance.”

Arnell Walker said she still forgave Cosby for her son’s death.

“Even if I had the chance to take (the forgiveness) back, I wouldn’t,” she said.

But Arnell Walker said she was distraught that Cosby is now suspected in another death.

“There are two mothers who are devastated again,” she said. “As a Christian community we need to hold them up in prayer.”