Stabbing survivor, 14, recounts attack
Motive a mystery; suspect's family offers 'deepest sympathy' to 10-year-old victim's family
By Glenda Anderson and Martin Espinoza
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
March 26, 2008
Pagan PdLAKEPORT - The survivor of a brutal knife attack that left her 10-year-old sister dead Friday spent Tuesday afternoon huddled with her family in the doctor's office her father uses to see patients.
The trauma of last week's attack was still very real.
"Last Friday me and my sister were walking, and this man came out and tried to kill us," 14-year-old Kristen Walker said, after first asking her step-mother if it was OK to speak. It was all the young girl could muster before breaking down in tears.
She was stabbed at least once in the abdomen and wore a dressing over the wound Tuesday as she recovers. Her sister, Tessa Walker, succumbed to "multiple sharp force injuries" Friday, according to a release Tuesday from the Lake County Sheriff's Department.
The man accused of the attack, James Roland Pagan, 31, appeared in court Tuesday and was charged with murder, attempted murder, mayhem, infliction of injury on a child, assault with a deadly weapon and special allegations that include the use of a knife and infliction of great bodily injury.
"He's looking at life" if convicted of the charges, said Deputy District Attorney Richard Hinchcliff.
The charges do not add up to a capital case, he said.
The stunned community has rallied to support the Walker family and are touched by their expressions of forgiveness.
Still unknown is what drove the attacker to stab two young girls on Firethorn Road in the quiet gated community of Hidden Valley Lake.
"We have absolutely no idea what the motive was," said Lake County Sheriff's Chief Deputy James Bauman.
Pagan did not enter a plea Tuesday. He was assigned a court-appointed attorney and told to return to court April 11.
Following the hearing, Pagan's family offered condolences to the Walkers in a written statement distributed by Pagan's mother.
"To the family of Tessa Faith Walker, it is with heavy heart and our deepest sympathy that we come to you in words to try and express our sorrow for the loss of your daughter and the pain your family has had to endure.
"We can only pray that the pain and sorrow of losing your loved one be lightened by the grace of God."
The Pagans declined further comment Tuesday. But on Saturday, Pagan's mother said her son had mental health issues.
The Pagan home is just around the corner from the Walkers' house in the Hidden Valley Lake subdivision, but it appears the victims and suspect were not acquainted, Bauman said.
The attack is believed to have occurred in or near the street somewhere between the suspect's home and the victims' home, said Sheriff Rod Mitchell.
The victims' father, Ronald Walker, was alerted to the stabbings when Kristen came running into the house, he said.
Mitchell said Walker, a Lower Lake physician, administered first aid to Tessa on the side of the road.
But the child succumbed to her wounds and was pronounced dead at Redbud Adventist Hospital in Clearlake.
Walker was treating patients from his modest office Tuesday and declined to talk about the case.
His eldest daughter, 18-year-old Sarah, was also at the office and said her 10-year-old sister was a joy.
"She was always doing something to brighten somebody's day."
When asked if she was angry, she replied, "What can you do? It's not going to bring her back."
Tessa Walker is one of the county's youngest homicide victims, but not the youngest, according to District Attorney Jon Hopkins.
He said the youngest he knows of was a 4-year-old girl who was raped and murdered in 1999.
The child's killer, Anthony Sidbeck, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, Hopkins said.
Pagan appeared in court Tuesday shackled and dressed in a red-and-white-striped jail shirt and green-and-white-striped pants.
He expressed no emotion as he first listened to, then read the charges filed against him.
Mitchell said he cannot provide additional details of the attack because the criminal investigation and reports are not completed.
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Another article: Family Forgives
Girls' family forgives stabbing suspect
By Glenda Anderson
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
March 24, 2008
The father of the 10-year-old Lake County girl stabbed to death Friday said his family has forgiven the neighbor suspected of the crime.
“We are very grateful to those who are supporting us with their prayers,” Lower Lake physician Dr. Ronald R. Walker said in a written statement. “We forgive the man who took our daughter from us, even for this short time, for by forgiving others, we ourselves are forgiven.”
James Ronald Pagan, 31, is in county jail on suspicion of killing Tessa Walker and wounding her sister, Kristen, 14, Friday afternoon in the gated community of Hidden Valley located about halfway between Middletown and Lower Lake in southern Lake County.
He is expected to be arraigned Tuesday, according to the Lake County District Attorney’s Office.
Sheriff’s authorities have not disclosed a motive for the attacks or details or the circumstances surrounding them.
Dr. Walker said in his statement that family members are relying on their Christian faith during a difficult time.
”We are grieving the loss of our very precious daughter, Tessa Faith Walker — a beautiful, intelligent, happy and alive young woman, full of dreams, including being a doctor like her “daddy” — by this senseless act of violence.”
“We are very thankful that our daughter, Kristen Marie Walker, is doing well physically and that she is now home with us,” he wrote.
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Jesus said, "For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." Matthew 6:14,15