California criminal behind 3-strikes law arrested

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Associated Press

Posted on March 8, 2014 at 2:36 PM

Updated Saturday, Mar 8 at 2:36 PM

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — The career criminal whose participation in a notorious murder spurred California's so-called three strikes law has been arrested again.

The Fresno Bee (http://tinyurl.com/q8uxce2 ) reported Saturday that 49-year-old Douglas Walker pleaded not guilty to corporal injury to a spouse, criminal threats and violation of probation. If convicted of the felonies, he faces a sentence of life in prison.

A Fresno County superior court judge on Friday ordered him held without bail. He was arrested Feb.26.

Walker's criminal history dates back to when he was charged with selling heroin when he was 13 years old.

Walker was convicted of being an accessory to the murder of 18-year-old Kimber Reynolds in 1992. He was freed from prison after serving half his nine-year prison sentence, but he has been in and out of prison several times since.

Walker's role in Kimber Reynolds' murder prompted her father to campaign for passage of California's three strikes law, which mandates long sentences for repeat offenders. A career criminal convicted of three felonies including violent or serious offenses faces a mandatory sentence of 25 years to life in prison.

He has been arrested several times after passage of the law. But Walker avoided a life sentence for a third felony conviction in 2003 when a judge deemed his conviction for stealing a tool chest a low-level crime and so sentenced him to a little more than 12 years in prison. He was paroled in November and put on post-release community supervision, and not subject to the strict supervision of parole because his last crime was non-violent.

Because that crime was not violent, he was released under the prison realignment law that is sending lower-level offenders to county jails instead of state prisons.

"This guy is like a cat. He just keeps landing on his feet," Kimber Reynolds' father, Mike Reynolds, told the Bee. "He just seems to have an affinity for ending up back on the street and hurting people."

California's three strikes law was passed by 72 percent of the electorate in 1994. The law was scaled back by voters in November 2012 that required third felony convictions to be serious to count as a third strike and trigger a mandatory 25-years-to-life prison sentence. The law also paved the way for about 3,000 inmates serving life sentences for relatively minor third offenses to have their sentences recalculated and making them eligible for release.

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