April 16, 2018
Warrenton man gets six years for manslaughter
Headed for prison, Richard T. “Footsie” MacDonald leaves the courthouse Monday morning.
It was cold-blooded killing.
— Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Jamey Cook
MacDonald Manslaughter Case
• What: Shooting and stabbing death of Larry Walker, 56, at 5442 Turkey Run Road near Warrenton on Feb. 19, 2017.
• Defendant: Richard Turner “Footsie” MacDonald, 65, of Warrenton.
• Conviction: Mr. MacDonald on Wednesday, Feb. 14, pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony.
• Sentence: 15 years, with nine years suspended; imposed by the judge Monday, April 16.
• Defense attorneys: Blair D. Howard and John C. Clark of Warrenton.
• Prosecutor: Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Jamey Cook.
• Judge: Herman A. Whisenant Jr.
The former Safeway employee got a six-year prison term for shooting and stabbing to death a longtime friend near Warrenton.
After nearly a two-hour hearing Monday in Fauquier County Circuit Court, Judge Herman A. Whisenant Jr. sentenced Richard T. “Footsie” MacDonald to 15 years in prison — with nine years suspended — for killing Larry Walker.
In February, Mr. MacDonald, 65, pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony.
Mr. MacDonald and Mr. Walker, 56, drank heavily the night before the Feb. 19, 2017, incident.
Seven people, including Mr. Walker’s younger brother, testified Monday in circuit court.
“This was a massive impact that occurred here,” Steve Walker said of his brother’s brutal death.
The killing took place in Mr. MacDonald’s home on Turkey Run Road, just southeast of town. He rented the house from the victim’s parents.
The autopsy found that Mr. Walker suffered five gunshot wounds — one in the head, one in the neck and three in the back.
A state medical examiner also concluded that Mr. Walker got stabbed four times — producing three “gaping” wounds — and cut with a kitchen knife.
Medics pronounced Mr. Walker dead at the scene.
“There was evil that occurred here,” said Steve Walker, who works for an IT firm and lives in Richmond.
He described his brother as a “handy man,” quick to perform “simple acts of kindness” for family and friends.
“If you were a friend of Larry’s, you had a friend for life . . . . I know Larry lived a good life.”
He called his brother’s death a “significant emotional event” for his parents and his immediate family. He urged the judge to put Mr. MacDonald in jail for a maximum 15 years.
“What else would he be capable of doing?” Mr. Walker said.
After a night of drinking, Mr. MacDonald and Larry Walker got into an argument and tussled.
They argued because Mr. Walker refused to leave his house, according to Mr. MacDonald.
A third man — Donald Busick — had joined them that evening but left before the killing.
Mr. MacDonald claims he remembers nothing about the deadly conflict.
Warrenton defense attorney Blair D. Howard argued that much remains unknown about the fatal, alcohol-fueled conflict.
For example, while Mr. Busick left the Turkey Run Road home before the incident, DNA evidence shows that he had gunshot residue on his hands, Mr. Howard told the court.
But, Mr. Busick said he had not fired a gun in six months before the shooting, the defense attorney said.
Five people, including family members and former Warrenton Safeway employees, testified in support of Mr. MacDonald.
They described him as “non-confrontational” and mild-mannered.
During the 1960s, Mr. MacDonald worked at his aunt and uncle’s bee farm near Marshall.
“They were always positive about ‘R.T.’,” his cousin Morton MacDonald said. “He was always cooperative and just a good kid. My parents thought the world of ‘R.T.’.”
Former Safeway co-workers called him hard-working, cooperative, reliable and friendly.
None said they knew of any run-ins he had with customers or store employees.
“ ‘Footsie,’ as we called him, was the most non-confrontational person I’ve ever met,” Realtor George V. “Dink” Godfrey Jr. said.
Mr. MacDonald and Mr. Godfrey together attended Fauquier High School, served in the Army National Guard and worked at Safeway.
While they socialized with him at parties or concerts, the former co-workers said they never saw him drink excessively.
Judy Dinges worked with Mr. MacDonald at the Warrenton Safeway for about 30 years.
The two shared a passion for country music, attending more than 100 concerts together, Ms. Dinges said.
“Footsie would have a cold beer, and I’d have a glass of wine,” she explained, adding he never got drunk at a concert or into a fracas with anyone. “You’d have to push Footsie . . . to cause him to fight.”
Because Mr. MacDonald had no criminal record and no history of violence before the killing, Mr. Howard asked for a lenient sentence.
“This was not a violent individual,” the defense attorney told the judge. “This was not an individual that looked for trouble.”
His client admitted to investigators that, “ ‘I had an awful lot to drink, and I don’t know what occurred’,” Mr. Howard said.
“There’s a lot of confusion,” said the lawyer, contending the events leading up to Mr. Walker’s killing will remain unknown.
Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Jamey Cook disagreed.
“We do know what happened,” Ms. Cook insisted.
At some point during the evening, Mr. Walker — who used a cane to walk — went to the bathroom, fell into the tub and pulled the shower curtain to the floor, the prosecutor said.
Mr. MacDonald helped his friend to a chair and the two scuffled, Ms. Cook added.
He then stabbed Mr. Walker four times — once in the neck and three times in the legs, she said.
Mr. Walker apparently fell face-down to the floor, after which Mr. MacDonald shot him five times, Ms. Cook explained.
“It was cold-blooded killing.”
Mr. Walker’s death meant the loss of a beloved family member and friend, Ms. Cook said.
Moments before his sentence, Mr. MacDonald apologized for his actions.
“It think it was fair,” Mr. Howard said of the prison term. “There were a lot of bullets fired into Mr. Walker. And there were stabs wounds. There’s no mistaking that.”
“I think the judge made a good point,” defense co-counsel John Clark said. “There’s tragedy on both sides.”
“We asked the court to impose a significant sentence which recognized the loss of life and the resulting impact for the family of Larry Walker, who lost their beloved son, brother and friend in such a brutal and senseless way,” Ms. Cook said in a statement. “These cases are tough and, as the judge said, no one leaves happy with the result.
“However, the commonwealth always appreciates the court's thoughtful consideration even when we hope for the maximum sentence.”
Authorities originally charged Mr. MacDonald with:
• Murder, which carries a penalty of up to life in prison.
• Use of a firearm in the commission of a murder, which carries a minimum three-year sentence.
• Two counts of firing a weapon in an occupied dwelling, each carrying up to a five- year sentence. After he pleaded guilty in February to voluntary manslaughter guilt, the court revoked his bond and jailed him pending the outcome of Monday’s sentencing hearing.
Until pleading guilty, Mr. MacDonald had remained free on a $25,000 cash bond since last May.
He faced to up to 10 years in prison for manslaughter and up to five years for a committing a felony with a firearm.
Felons in Virginia serve 85 percent of their sentences. Mr. MacDonald already has spent about five months in jail related to the crimes. Because of that, he faces about 46 months behind bars.
Judge Whisenant also ordered Mr. MacDonald to make $6,956 in restitution to Mr. Walker’s family to cover the victim’s funeral and other expenses.
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no justice · April 21, 2018 at 9:33 am
In response to galem116's post: I would like to point out - How did McDonald remember he had washed the knife off and placed it in the sink but also told the Judge at the sentencing hearing he didn't remember what happened!! Then "McDonald apologized for his actions" GUILTY - LIAR! Apparently Judge Whisenant doesn't mind being lied to. NO JUSTICE FOR LARRY
GLYNN A. FRAZIER
galem116 · April 20, 2018 at 5:58 pm
I would like to point out an obvious statement from the above article, and ask the question How did Mr. Busick acquire gunshot residue on his hands , if he had not fired a gun in six months ???
rescuedrvr4u · April 17, 2018 at 8:48 pm
What a sad, sickening shame. I can't wrap my head around how people like this defense lawyer, and THE JUDGE, can sleep at night. There are people in the county jail doing more time for probation violations with marijuana. Trust and believe Larry's family will never be the same, but this POS will walk in about 4 years. Proof that when you have money for the "good" lawyers, and favors are owed, you can literally get away with murder. Way to go "Judge"....sleep peacefully. Larry's family does not.
no justice · April 17, 2018 at 11:41 am
So.. we go from Murder to Manslaughter then it gets reduced to four years with good behavior!! Nice job everybody!!! When Ole Footsie gets out he can go into bank robbery knowing he will only be charged with Shoplifting
ella82 · April 16, 2018 at 3:43 pm
Justice apparently is blind in Fauquier County. I know neither man involved in this case but how on Earth could someone shoot a victim 5 times and stab them 4 times and only get 5 years. There are thousands sitting in Virginia's prisons who have done far less but serving far more time.
ella82 · April 16, 2018 at 2:23 pm
Justice apparently as blind and Fauquier County. I know neither man involved in this case but how on Earth could someone shoots at a 5 cops and stab them for and only get 5 years. There are thousands sitting in Virginia's prisons who had done far less serving far more Justice is
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