Man pleads guilty to murder charges filed for fatal 2021 shooting, crash

A man has entered a guilty plea for his role in a 2021 shooting and crash that left a bystander dead.

On Tuesday morning, court records show 35-year-old Christopher London Walker pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree intentional murder as well as an amended charge of third-degree murder – by perpetrating an eminently dangerous act and evincing depraved mind.

Previously, Walker had been charged with two counts of second-degree murder – one for aiding and abetting and the other for attempting to commit – and illegal firearm possession.

His sentencing hearing has been scheduled for March 18.

As previously reported by 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS, Walker was one of two men to be charged for the incident that left 18-year-old Autumn Merrick dead in October of 2021. Merrick was killed while riding a scooter on the sidewalk near the intersection of Fifth Street and Sixth Avenue North.

Walker was the driver of a Range Rover that crashed into a light pole and then caught fire. The man in the front passenger seat, Marvel Galvaston Williams, was also charged for the incident.

Williams, who was 33 when he was charged, was sentenced on March 6, 2023, to more than 24 years in prison, seven years more than what prosecutors had asked for. He received credit for 516 days already served.

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Williams had entered a guilty plea to second-degree intentional murder, third-degree murder and illegal possession of a firearm nearly a full year prior, in May of 2022. A second charge of second-degree murder was dismissed.

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According to two criminal complaints, at 11:09 p.m. on Oct. 6, 2021, Metro Transit Police heard gunfire at the intersection of Fifth Street and Sixth Avenue North and saw the Range Rover driving fast through the intersection. They then heard a loud crash.

The Range Rover had crashed into a light pole and caught fire; a Dodge Durango had crashed into a building. Body camera video and witness statements helped identify Walker as the Range Rover’s driver and Williams as its passenger, the complaint states. Officers helped Walker, Williams and the third occupant.

As more officers arrived, they found Merrick, who was declared dead at the scene despite first responders attempting life-saving measures.

A witness who was with Merrick told police they were driving scooters to a Holiday gas station across from the scene. According to the complaint, the pair was standing on the corner when the Durango hit Merrick and “pushed her directly into the building.” The witness said Merrick was stuck under the car and she helped pull her out.