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After just two days of trial, a Texas man accused of killing a cheerleader decades ago changed his plea to guilty and was sentenced to life in prison.
This week, jurors watched a video of 78-year-old Glen Samuel McCurley tearfully admitting to investigators in 2020 that he did indeed kill 17-year-old Carla Jan Walker in 1974, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports.
“I took advantage of her, I guess,” he said in the clip. “I choked her to death, I guess. [...] I’m guilty.”
Tuesday's proceedings began with Judge Elizabeth Beach stating that she had received a document in which McCurley had confessed to both the teen's kidnapping and murder, KXAS reports.
McCurley then changed his plea to guilty and waived his right to a jury trial. Beach sentenced him to life in prison and following that, Walker’s family gave impact statements.
“You had choices, lots of choices that night,” Cindy Stone, Carla’s sister, said on the stand, according to the Star-Telegram. “You went out to kill somebody. You had your gun, you had your alcohol, you had your whiskey, and you’re still not telling the truth about everything you did. I want to know if you’ve done this to anybody else, you need to bring that out, because those families need to know, too. You have nothing to lose at this point. Because it’s been hell.”
Prosecutors told the courtroom that Walker was in the car with her boyfriend after a Valentine’s Day dance when McCurley forced the cheerleader out of the vehicle and pistol-whipped her boyfriend Rodney McCoy until he was unconscious. Her body was found in a Fort Worth-area ditch three days later after being sexually assaulted, strangled and beaten. Her case turned cold for decades until McCurley was arrested last year after DNA linked him to the crime scene.
DNA evidence recovered on clothing and a bra worn by Walker during the attack was recently sent to private lab Othram Inc., which was able to create a full DNA profile of a suspect. That, in turn, led investigators to McCurley, who was already named as a possible suspect in Walker's case file. He had been originally linked to the crime because he owned a gun that matched a magazine found at the crime scene, according to authorities.
When police initially spoke to McCurley in 2020, he claimed he never seen Walker before.
Walker’s mysterious killing was explored in an episode of “The DNA of Murder with Paul Holes,” which aired last year. Her older sister, Cindy Stone, described her as a “little spitfire” in an interview with Holes on the show.
Holes, a renowned cold case investigator who worked on the Golden State Killer case, told Oxygen.com last year that the arrest “does not bring Carla back, but most certainly will help the family get justice for what was done for Carla.”
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