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Jan 24, 2013 8:09 PM by Angela Douglas - Q2 News

Homicide suspect appears in court, blames murder on partner

BILLINGS - A Billings man suspected for his involvement in a Billings homicide last week, made his first appearance in Yellowstone County court Thursday afternoon.

James Walker, 32, of Billings appeared via video from the Yellowstone County Detention Facility.

Walker has been charged with four felonies: aggravated kidnapping by accountability, kidnapping, and two counts of robbery.

Thursday was only his initial appearance, which means Walker's plea will come at a later date.

However, more details surrounding the events leading up to the kidnapping and murder of Dejuan Laster, 29, were released Thursday.

Walker claims the whole idea of kidnapping and robbing Laster was conjured up by his accomplice Simon Jacobson, 28.

Walker confessed to police that he went along with the plan, but didn't intend for Laster to die.

He told police that after the kidnapping and robbery, he was ready to let Laster go, but apparently Jacobson had another plan.

Court documents state that Walker told police he saw Jacobson shoot at Laster multiple times. Laster then took off running, but ultimately fell to the ground.

Walker told police Jacobson then shot Laster a final time in the back of the head.

On January 19, the day Walker was located and arrested, he was led detectives to the crime scene northwest of Billings. There, they found Laster's body in a culvert near Shepherd.

Other details within the documents released Thursday indicate that the hotel staff believed Walker and Simonson were FBI agents.

On January 16, Jacobson entered the Extended Stay Hotel, claiming to be "Detective Jefferson." He told the hotel clerk that he was working on a missing person case and asked for the key to Laster's room.

After checking with her manager, the clerk gave the room key to Jacobson.

Later that evening, when Laster was trying to escape from Jacobson, Laster jumped over the clerk's desk and hid in the laundry room.

Thinking that this was the man Jacobson and Walker were attempting arrest, the clerk tried to convince Laster to come out of the laundry room and surrender to Jacobson.

Court documents state that Laster came out of the laundry room with his hands in the air after a short conversation with Jacobson.

Yellowstone County Attorney Scott Twito asked for a bond of $500,000 telling Judge Pedro Hernandez that more charges will likely be filed against Walker in the near future.

Although the public defender asked for a $200,000 bond, Judge Hernandez agreed to the higher bond.

Jacobson remains in custody in Colorado. He will be extradited back to Billings.


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