Soldier charged in slayings of wife, state trooper

(Trooper Joel Davis)

THERESA, N.Y. (AP) — New York State Police are investigating the deaths of 36-year-old Trooper Joel Davis and 27-year-old Nichole Walters.

32-year-old Army Staff Sergeant Justin Walters is charged with Murder in the First Degree and Murder in the Second Degree for their deaths.

According to state police, Trooper Davis was responding to a domestic call with reports of shots fired at Walters’ home off Route 46 in the Town of Theresa, near the Canadian border, Sunday night.

As Davis approached the residence around 8:30 p.m., authorities said he was shot once by Walters.

“A second victim, Nichole V. Walters, the wife of Justin Walters, was found deceased in the driveway of the residence, with multiple gunshot wounds,” said State Police Superintendent George Beach Monday afternoon.

Justin Walters is stationed at Fort Drum; he’s been there since 2007.

According to Fort Drum spokesperson Julie Halpin, Walters completed two tours of duty in Afghanistan; from January 2009 to January 2010 and then again from March 2011 to March 2012.

Walters was awarded the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal;, the Army Good Conduct Medal, and the National Defense Service Medal, among others.

(Trooper Joel Davis)

In a statement, Major General Walter E. Piatt, the Senior Commander at Fort Drum & the 10th Mountain Division said:

“Trooper Davis is a hero.  It takes an uncommon valor to run toward acts of terrible violence, to sacrifice for the safety of strangers.  The deaths of a young mother and this brave officer are a terrible tragedy and we are deeply affected by their loss.”

The U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command is working with NYSP on this investigation, although NYSP is the lead agency.

“This of course tears at everybody in the division of state police. But it’s especially true in a place like Jefferson County which is very tight knit,” Beach said.

A third person was shot by Walters according to Beach; Rebecca Finkle, a woman believed to be the friend of Nicole Walters. Police are expecting Finkle to recover.

Beach said Finkle’s two children were also on the property during the alleged incident, but were not harmed.

(Mug shot of Justin Walters)

Walters is scheduled to be arraigned in Town of LeRay Court Monday at 5 p.m. He’s being held without bail the Jefferson County Jail.

Trooper Davis is survived by his wife and three children.

Prior to joining the New York State Police in 2013, Davis worked for several years with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.

A friend of Nichole Walters said the young mother was devoted to her toddler-aged son.

Investigators said several weapons were found at Walters’ home; they’re undergo tests to determine which gun police believe was used to kill Davis and Walters.

What led up to the domestic dispute is still unclear according to police.

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