Pickton man accused in brother's shooting death
Investigators believe family disagreement led to death
Faith Huffman | News-Telegram News Editor

Hopkins County Sheriff's Sgt. Victor Cosme escorts John Arlin Walters, 59, into the Hopkins County Law Enforcement Center Friday afternoon. Walters is accused of shooting and killing his brother, 67-year-old Russell Lowell Walters Jr. His bail on the first-deree felony murder charge was set at $1 million.
Staff Photo By Ricky Russell

January 23, 2004 -- A verbal altercation between two brothers ended Friday with John Arlin Walters, 59, of Pickton accused in the shooting death of his brother, Russell Lowell Walters Jr.

Russell Lowell Walters Jr., 67, was pronounced dead at 3:55 p.m. Friday at Hopkins County Memorial Hospital by Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace Ronny Glossup.

According to information obtained Friday from Russell Walters' wife and John Arlin Walters, John Arlin drove up to the Tabernacle Baptist Church where his brother and sister-in-law were at. The men got into an argument believed to have stemmed from an ongoing family dispute between the two brothers. John Arlin then shot Russell twice while in the church parking lot. He then got in his truck and drove to his residence and called 911, Adams said Friday evening.

John Arlin Walters was booked into the county jail at 4:55 p.m. Friday after officers were advised that the man's brother died at the hospital as a result of the gunshot wounds. Glossup arraigned the self-employed farmer on the first-degree felony murder charge at 6:18 p.m. Friday. Walters remained in the county jail Saturday morning in lieu of $1 million bond.

Hopkins County Sheriff Butch Adams said a family disagreement may have been the reason behind the shooting, but investigators were still determining the facts in the case.

"I'm just glad we could catch this suspect so quickly," Adams said Friday evening. "Hopefully we'll be able to clear this case up pretty quickly. As to motive we think it possibly started from a family dispute between the two. However, as to specifics, we still don't know all of that yet as we are still investigating it."

Sheriff's officers were contacted at 2:06 p.m. Friday by a woman inside the church, who advised she could hear a woman screaming in the parking lot.

A second call almost immediately following the first reported that someone had been shot in the parking lot at Tabernacle Baptist Church on FM 269 in Pickton.

County dispatchers received a third all on 911 at 2:08 p.m. advising that someone had been shot at the church. Authorities later determined the caller to be the shooting suspect.

Two additional 911 calls were made from nearby residents before officers arrived, advising of the shooting in the church lot.

The Criminal Investigations Division at Hopkins County Sheriff's Office, along with Sheriff Butch Adams, Inv. Chris Hill, Deputies Eddie Moon and Steve Scott responded to the dispatch of the shooting. Pickton-Pine Forest firefighters responded at the location, acting as first responders with Hopkins County Emergency Medical Services personnel, according to sheriff's reports.

Investigators John Williams and Chris Hill and Deputy Scott went to John Arlin Walters' residence in Pickton after he indicated to dispatchers that he shot his brother. He emptied his gun, as he was told to do by dispatchers he was talking to on his cell phone as the officers arrived, and placed his hands above his head as he walked across his carport toward them.

He was placed in custody about 25 minutes after the shooting and transported by Sgt. Victor Cosme to the sheriff's office, where he was questioned by Williams, according to reports by Williams and Scott.

Hopkins County Sheriff Butch Adams, Invs. Andy Chester, Jace Anglin and Jim Wright, and Deputy Eddie Moon went to the crime scene in the church parking lot, where Russell Walters Jr. was found to have been shot in the neck and the upper torso, Adams said Friday evening.

EMS personnel transported Walters to Hopkins County Memorial Hospital for emergency surgery, but he was pronounced dead at the medical center at 3:55 p.m. Glossup ordered Russell Walters' body be sent to Dallas for an autopsy.

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