The jury examining the March 2011 slaying of University of New Hampshire football player Todd Walker didn't take long to determine the guilt of Kevin McGregor, the sandwich shop staffer charged in the slaying. Late yesterday, just a day after closing arguments, McGregor was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison without parole.
As we reported last April, defense attorneys initially insisted that McGregor shot Walker in what amounted to a tragic accident. But in the prosecutors' view, a botched robbery attempt turned into murder, after which McGregor treated himself to tacos and cigars.
Walker, an Edwards native, returned from New Hampshire to Colorado over spring break. After attending a raucous party on University Hill in Boulder, he walked home CU student Elizabeth Roach. Along the way, they encountered McGregor, who worked in a Boulder Which Wich sandwich shop. But police say he was not dressed for duty. Instead, he allegedly wore a distinctive hoodie -- his favorite -- and a bandanna over his face.
Roach told police McGregor ordered them to give him all their money -- a demand she regarded as a joke. "This is Boulder," she recalled telling him. "I'm not giving you my money." And then she tugged down the bandanna, revealing McGregor's face.
According to the Boulder Police Department's account, McGregor reacted angrily, firing a shot in the air as Roach grabbed Walker's arm and tried to walk away. Instead, the two men engaged in a pushing match that ended with Walker being fatally shot in the chest.
And afterward? McGregor is said to have headed to a nearby Del Taco, where he ordered two steak tacos and hung out for a while, even chatting with other customers. He then visited a late-night deli and market and bought some cigars before returning to Which Wich and falling asleep on a pile of aprons after stashing the gun and a backpack containing extra ammo.
The next day, McGregor's fellow Which Wich employees recognized the hoodie McGregor wore from photos circulated by police, leading to his speedy arrest.
At a preliminary hearing, McGregor's attorney provided a different explanation for what happened, based on an explanation his client shared with cops after the bust. McGregor claimed to have been drunk that evening when he whistled at Roach. Walker reacted by taking some swings at him, prompting McGregor to fire the gun in the air. He then claimed that in a struggle that followed, Walker essentially aimed the gun at his own chest, at which point the weapon fired -- and McGregor didn't remember pulling the trigger.
Nonetheless, a judge determined that there was enough evidence of murder to proceed to trial, during which Roach proved to be the star witness. In addition, the Boulder Daily Camera notes that Boulder District Attorney Stan Garnett and his team tracked down photos from McGregor's computer of him posing with weapons, plus "violent rap lyrics that talk about robbing people and being 'poised to attack' and 'about to erupt.'"
Such evidence clearly made an impact on the jurors, who shrugged off options to convict McGregor of manslaughter or second-degree murder in order to hit him with the maximum sentence.
Look below to see a Daily Camera video featuring interviews with Roach and Garnett. That's followed by a larger version of McGregor's mug shot.
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