DEKALB COUNTY, GA—Otis D. Walker, of Lithonia, has been sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison after he killed his girlfriend, then shot and wounded a responding officer from the DeKalb County Police Department (DKPD).
DeKalb Superior Court Judge Yolanda Parker-Smith, who presided over the trial, on Tuesday, Nov. 7, sentenced Walker, 32, to life without parole plus 65 years to serve consecutively in connection with the murder of Aleka Simmons, 27, and the shooting of DKPD Officer Derek Nunn, who was 48 at the time.
Jurors returned guilty verdicts against Walker 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 fatal incident occurred at a home in the 4800 block of Hodgdon Corners Cove in Lithonia in the early morning hours of Aug. 1, 2019. DKPD responded to a 911 call of a person shot. As officers responded, they were fired upon by Walker, and Officer Nunn was struck four times. The officers retreated, SWAT was activated, and they reapproached the residence to check on the shooting victim.
Simmons was located in an upstairs bedroom with a gunshot wound to the chest and was pronounced dead on the scene. Officer Nunn was transported to Grady Memorial Hospital where he received treatment for his wounds. He recovered from his injuries.
According to the investigation, a few hang-up calls were made to 911 from the residence on the evening of July 31, 2019. 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.
The defendant’s mother, Sharon Walker, was asleep when a minor family member knocked on her bedroom door stating that the police were at the front door. Ms. Walker went to Defendant Walker’s bedroom where he was staying with Simmons. Realizing there was tension between the two, Ms. Walker offered to give Simmons a ride, and went to her room to get her car keys. Defendant Walker indicated to his mother that Simmons intended to talk to the police and closed the bedroom door.
Moments later, Ms. Walker heard a gunshot. She returned to the room and saw that Ms. Simmons was wounded. Defendant Walker, who was previously arrested for battery involving the victim, told his mother that he did not want to go back to jail.
Ms. Walker and two minors fled the home and went to a neighbor’s house to call 911. Officer Nunn, who had responded to the earlier call, returned with two additional officers. As they approached the front yard, Defendant Walker began shooting at the officers, striking Nunn. Walker shot 19 rounds before escaping into the woods.
A manhunt ensued, and Defendant Walker was arrested on August 8, 2019 by the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office Fugitive Task Force and DKPD. On his person was a signed apology to Officer Nunn and DKPD for his actions.
At trial, Defendant Walker claimed he acted in self-defense when he shot Simmons. Additionally, he insisted that he only shot toward the ground at responding officers to provoke them to shoot and kill him. This was disproved by the shots that hit Officer Nunn and a shot that pierced the second floor of a neighboring home.
The case, assigned to the District Attorney’s Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Unit, was prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Paige Boorman with assistance from Senior ADA Garrett Emmons, DA Investigator Andre Williams, DA Investigator Christopher Franklin and Victim Advocate Shelbie Rainwater. DeKalb County Police Department Detective Victor Redrick led the initial investigation. GBI Special Agent Justin McAllister led the investigation into the shooting of Officer Nunn.