Judge denies mistrial request for man accused of killing two at Des Moines nonprofit

Des Moines police charged 18-year-old Preston Walls with two counts of first-degree murder,...
Des Moines police charged 18-year-old Preston Walls with two counts of first-degree murder, attempted murder and criminal gang participation.(Polk County Sheriff’s Office)
Published: Sep. 7, 2023 at 6:58 AM CDT
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DES MOINES, Iowa (KCCI) - A judge is denying a mistrial request for the 19-year-old accused of killing two students at a Des Moines outreach center in January, KCCI reports.

Preston Walls is charged with murder and attempted murder.

Police say he shot and killed 16-year-old Rashad Carr and 18-year-old Gionni Dameron at Starts Right Here.

Will Keeps, the founder of the program, was also hurt in the shooting.

Lawyers called for the mistrial after a Police K9 officer referred to Walls as a “bad guy” during testimony on Tuesday.

His attorneys say this was a prejudicial statement, especially when made in front of the jury.

The judge ruled the comment was inappropriate, but not enough to grant a mistrial.

He gave attorneys the option to give the jury special instruction to disregard the comment before they enter deliberations.

Walls’ attorney, Darren Page, argued this could do more harm than good.

“By saying to the jury, ‘Hey, by the way, you know that thing that officer said about the defendant that he wasn’t supposed to say and you weren’t supposed to hear, that we’re now bringing up in an instruction? Ignore that.’ I don’t know how a curative instruction is going to solve that problem,” Page said.

Prosecutors on Wednesday called several forensic specialists to the stand.

The trial resumes at 9 a.m. Thursday.