Star witness testifies in day 1 of Lisa Graham retrial

Lisa Graham retrial

RUSSELL COUNTY, AL (WTVM) - Attorneys in the Lisa Graham retrial heard opening statements.

The state's star witness took the witness stand Wednesday in the murder for hire case where a mother is accused of hiring a hit man to kill her daughter, Shae Stephanie Graham, 20, Lisa Graham's daughter. 

Kenny Walton told the court the defendant, Lisa Graham, said she owed him a favor because he covered up a relationship between her husband Kevin Graham and Walton's cousin.

It was July 5, 2007, when Walton, a family friend, told the court he and Shae, met up at the Raceway Trac gas station on Highway 165.

Shae was under the assumption that she was going to get a vehicle from Walton; a car she could use to leave town as a way to escape drive by shooting-related charges in Columbus.

Her parents had put up $100,000 bond for her to be released from jail pending her court hearing. She was with friends who were smoking marijuana inside her car, when she left with Walton, leaving her car, keys cell phone and purse behind.

The two rode around in rural Georgia before circling back around to rural Alabama, there, Shae stated she had to use the restroom, with her underpants down while relieving herself.

Walton told the court: "I used the restroom and got back in the truck, got the gun and shot Shae two times in the head. I went around to check on her and she was still moving and I fired four more times because I wasn't taking any chances."

Walton also stated to the court that he ran over Shae's arm with his vehicle as he was leaving. The tire marks are consistent with markings found on the victim's body, according to testimony. Walton said he left the body in open view as instructed by Lisa Graham so that someone could easily see the body.

Walton then left the scene and drove around calling his mother, grandmother and now ex-wife. He says he took a shower when he got home and put the clothes he had on in a bag but could not recall what he did with them.

He says he went to work the next day and installed three septic tanks in the Farmbrook Subdivision for his boss. He left work early went out of town to LaGrange, GA with his wife after receiving a call from a Russell County investigator who knew him, telling him to come to the sheriff's department.

Walton responded, "For what, I haven't done nothing." 

Walton says he went to the sheriff's department, but it was during the second interview with then Lt. Heath Taylor that he confessed to the crime and implicated Lisa Graham as the mastermind.

At that point, the gun was already back in Lisa Graham's possession. The 9 mm semi-automatic gun, Walton said, when he returned it to Lisa, she told him not to give it to her, to put it back where he got it from.

Walton told the court he got the gun from the glove compartment of Lisa's Avalanche SUV following a meeting at the Columbus Public Library on Macon Road where he said he received instructions from Lisa to kill her daughter on July 5, 2007.

Walton also added he told Lisa the gun was dirty and needed cleaning.

By that time, Lisa' grandfather, who lived in a home near Lisa stated, "I've been wanting to clean that gun for a while." He took the gun home and that's where it stayed until investigators conducted a search Lisa and Kevin Graham's home at 8 Westside Court in Russell County.

Retired investigator Grover Goodrich testified that Lisa was helping them search for the gun until Sheriff Heath Taylor asked Kevin where Lisa could have hidden the gun. Kevin reportedly told them to check with Lisa's grandfather.

The weapon was retrieved and sent for ballistics testing, which the state says revealed a match as the weapon used to kill Shae.

During Walton's testimony, he told prosecutor Ken Davis, "I felt normal," when asked about shooting Shae six times.

"She never said what she was going to give me, but said, If I needed anything, just call her," Walton testified.

The defense tried to blow holes in Walton's testimony, asking him about the many conversations he had with Lisa Graham about the ordeal.

Attorney Margaret Brown asked, "Did you ever mention it to Kevin?"

Walton responded, "Yes, I told Kevin; He told Lisa, if you want it did, do it yourself." Brown went on to stress that nothing happened out of the ordinary other than the usual - that Shae did, the stealing, drugs and stripping that caused her to say kill her daughter.

Court resumes Thursday morning at 9 a.m.

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