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A five-times convicted felon who shot and paralyzed a Good Samaritan trying to help the felon’s girlfriend after he beat her will spend 192 years in prison.
Arapahoe District Judge Jeffrey Holmes on Friday (Oct. 20) ruled John Walch, 35, is a habitual offender and sentenced him to 192 years in the Department of Corrections. Previously, a jury on June 27, 2017, found Walch guilty of nine counts including attempted first-degree murder.
“This is a case of such severity that it warrants the most extreme sanctions,” Holmes said in imposing the court’s sentence. “Mr. Walch has demonstrated he is a great danger to society.”
On Jan. 8, 2015, the 52-year-old male victim encountered a 32-year-old woman bleeding from the face on East Colfax Avenue in Aurora.
The man offered to help the woman back to the motel where she was staying. He learned her injuries had been caused by her boyfriend, Walch.
While the Good Samaritan was in the room helping the woman, Walch returned. He and the woman argued through the door, and the woman told Walch she did not want to be with him any more. Walch became angry and broke the window of the room.
Walch left and returned with a gun. Walch fired several times through the broken window, hitting the Good Samaritan in the back, paralyzing him from the chest down.
Walch and the woman fled the scene. The Good Samaritan did know anything about either of them that could help investigating officers.
Aurora police officers found blood on the broken window, as well as three shell casings.
The DNA sample from the recovered blood was entered into the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS), the system maintained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation that is used for matching DNA profiles in DNA databases.
The shell casings were sent to the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN), maintained by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. It compares ballistic evidence to help solve and prevent violent crimes involving firearms.
The DNA came back to John Walch, whose DNA was in the database due to his prior felony convictions.
The shell casings found in Aurora were matched to three weapons crimes in Denver.
The Good Samaritan participated in the sentencing hearing by phone.
“I was wondering why I was shot, but now I know: He is a very evil man and he deserves to be in prison the rest of his life for the pain he has caused,” the victim told the court. “I’m just grateful to be alive even with the injuries I have.”
Deputy District Attorney Rory Devlin asked the court to impose the maximum sentences and that they be served consecutively.
The Good Samaritan “will live with the wounds from this case for the rest of his life,” Devlin said. “It can’t be understated the extent to which John Walch has harmed other people, not just in this case but in his past crimes.”
District Attorney George Brauchler was pleased at the outcome.
“This coward was able to run from the Good Samaritan he shot in the back and paralyzed, but he could not run from science or justice. DNA + NIBIN + numerous prior felonies = 192 years. This is why Colorado has Habitual Criminal laws and why we build prisons,” Brauchler said. “I commend the victim — whose life is forever changed by this violent criminal —for having the courage to face his cowardly attacker in court.”
In the Aurora case, Walch was convicted of:
• Two counts of attempted first-degree murder after deliberation (one for the Good Samaritan and one for the girlfriend)
• Two count of attempted first-degree murder – extreme indifference (one for the Good Samaritan and one for the girlfriend)
• One count of first-degree assault with a deadly weapon causing serious bodily injury
• One count of first-degree assault – extreme indifference
• One count of attempted first-degree assault with a deadly weapon causing serious bodily injury
• One count of attempted first-degree assault – extreme indifference
• One count of third-degree assault knowingly or recklessly causing injury