Major twists in case against Fresno man who inspired Three Strikes law

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Douglas Walker is the reason Fresno's Mike Reynolds co-authored the law that sends repeat violent offenders to prison for life. (KFSN)

Action News has uncovered new details and big changes in the case that could lead to a life sentence for the criminal who prompted a Valley man to help write California's Three Strikes law.

Douglas Walker is the reason Fresno's Mike Reynolds co-authored the law that sends repeat violent offenders to prison for life. But even as he racked up new crimes, Walker was never sentenced under the law.

"He may have been the inspiration for three strikes, but this is a situation where he's the reason for Three Strikes," said ABC30 legal analyst Tony Capozzi.

Walker was already a convicted criminal before he took part in the robbery that ended with Kimber Reynolds' death in 1992. The repeat offender wasn't convicted of murder, though, and got just a nine-year sentence. And as he neared release, walker made a pledge to an ABC News reporter.

"Do you feel you can be a productive person outside?" reporter Tom Jarriel asked.

"I know I can," Walker said.

"Law abiding?" asked Jarriel.

"Law abiding," said Walker.

That proved to be a lie within a few years.

In the meantime, Reynolds' father had used his daughter's death to bring to life the Three Strikes law, requiring sentences of 25 to life for third strike felons.

But Walker avoided a life sentence on his next felony conviction, despite the law he inspired. And three months after his release on that case, he got arrested for domestic violence and faced a possible third strike again. Court documents Action News uncovered show he was trying to avoid the life sentence by convincing the woman not to testify. And before she ever did, she died.

"Of course it's suspicious," said Mike Reynolds. "Mr. Walker has a history of violence. It's been more than 20 years since he participated in the murder of our daughter."

Coroners ruled the woman died of a drug overdose. But prosecutors tell us the case will go on. And the documents we found reveal significant evidence of a possible strike crime. Investigators say Walker made more than 2,500 phone calls to the victim in the five months after his arrest. They were all recorded and caught Walker giving the woman warnings like "Don't talk to the DA."

"That evidence can be used," Capozzi said. "It's legal to record those calls. Indeed, the inmate is told 'this call is being recorded.' yet he's still making those threats."

Capozzi says losing the alleged victim was a big dent to the effort to lock up Walker. But the jail recordings could be just as effective at making Three Strikes stick to the man for whom it was designed.

"It doesn't seem like he cares," said Capozzi. "He hasn't been hit with Three Strikes yet. He hasn't gotten a life sentence yet and he's brazen."

For Reynolds, a life sentence would mean justice for his daughter 23 years later.

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