A man already charged with raping a 16-year-old girl was charged Tuesday with murdering the girl’s cousin earlier on the same day as the alleged assault.
Ivan D. Walker, 33, was charged in Ramsey County District Court with one count of second-degree murder with intent for the July death of Shana Lynne Branch.
Walker was charged in July with one count each of kidnapping and rape for the attack on the teen in St. Paul. The murder count was added after final autopsy results were produced in late August.
According to the amended complaint: Police were called to Branch’s home in the 1500 block of Jessamine Lane and found her dead in a bedroom.
The 16-year-old girl told police that Walker raped her three times, threatened to kill her and had confessed to killing Branch, 39.
The girl said Walker allegedly told her he was going to make Branch’s death look like a drug overdose, and that he snorted cocaine through a straw and placed the straw next to Branch.
The girl convinced Walker to leave, and Branch’s 20-year-old son called police. Branch’s 7-year-old son was also home at the time.
Police arrested Walker that same day. He allegedly denied any wrongdoing and said he had not been at Branch’s home. Branch’s older son told police he heard his mother and Walker arguing in the home about 11 p.m. on July 22.
Witnesses told police that Walker was from East St. Louis, met Branch in November 2017 and stayed at her home several nights a week.
An autopsy showed that Branch died of “probable asphyxia due to assault,” the charges said. It noted that other “contributing factors” included recent cocaine, THC and ethanol use. Methamphetamine was also found in her system.
Branch also suffered hemorrhaging in both eyes and in her neck.
Walker pleaded not guilty to the first two counts and has a pretrial hearing scheduled for Sept. 19. He has not had a hearing on the murder count.
Chao Xiong • 612-270-4708 Twitter: @ChaoStrib