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Carly Walden

Carly Walden

A Georgia woman was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 30 years for murdering her mother and claiming that attempted rapists were to blame, the Newton County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Carly Suzanne Walden, 37, murdered 57-year-old Andrea Walker in April 2019, a jury of the defendant’s peers found on April 7, Newton County Court records reviewed by Law&Crime show. The victim was found shot and killed in a bed at the residence.

Walden, the one who reported the murder, claimed that men who had gone home with her mom and herself after a party attempted to rape them. She said one of the men pulled the trigger.

One investigator recognized early on that something was off about this story when Walden “mentioned that female companions of the men had danced on top of the ceiling fan.”

But things came into even clearer focus when Walden told another investigator that she accidentally shot her mom.

The court docket says jurors found Walden found guilty of all charges, including: malice murder, felony murder, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, aggravated assault, possession of methamphetamine, and possession of amphetamine.

Prosecutors said the defendant was sentenced last Thursday.

“After hearing from both the State and the defense, the Court sentenced Walden to life in prison with the possibility of parole plus 16 years in prison. The additional years were ordered to be served consecutively to the life sentence,” Newton County DA Randy McGinley said. “Pursuant to Georgia law, a life sentence on a murder conviction means that the person will serve at least 30 years in prison before becoming eligible for parole.”

DA McGinley also specifically thanked Clinton French, the investigator with the sheriff’s office who obtained pre-Miranda warning admissions from Walden that the defense ultimately failed to suppress.

“All murder cases are difficult, but those involving family bring with them additional difficulties. This conviction provides justice and some level of closure for Ms. Walker’s family,” the DA said. “I want to thank the prosecution team again for their hard work as well as the Newton County Sheriff’s Office, especially Investigator French.”

The issue stemmed from law enforcement’s questioning of Walden in the aftermath of her mother’s death.

The Georgia Supreme Court weighed in on the matter on May 3, 2021, finding that the trial court erred by suppressing Walden’s statement that she accidentally shot her mother:

Considering the totality of the circumstances, we conclude that the evidence did not authorize the trial court’s implicit determination that a reasonable person in Walden’s situation would believe that she was in custody when she was subjected to questioning by Investigator French prior to being given Miranda warnings.

We thus conclude that the trial court erred in concluding that Walden’s pre-Miranda statements to Investigator French were due to be suppressed. We affirm the order to the extent that the trial court declined to suppress any other statements that she made.

[Image via Newton County Sheriff’s Office]

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