Centreville One year ago, Benjamin Luke Walker walked into the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center’s pre-release center and confessed to killing his roommate, a 22-year-old Centreville woman. It was no surprise then that, instead of having a jury trial Feb. 4 in Circuit Court, he entered a guilty plea to a charge of first-degree murder.
The victim, Ryah Leslie, was killed Jan. 15, 2012 inside her townhouse in Centreville’s Woodgate Manor community. Three months later, in General District Court, witnesses testified about the crime.
The first was county Deputy Sheriff David Webb, who was working in the pre-release center, around 1 p.m., the day of the tragedy. He pointed out Walker in court and said Walker had approached him that day and asked to speak with a police officer.
“I told him I was a deputy and could help him,” said Webb. “He said he’d like to report a murder. I asked him if he knew who the murderer was, and his response was, ‘I did the killing.’” Webb also noted that Walker, 22, didn’t have any injuries that he could see.
Under cross examination from defense attorney Crystal Meleen, Webb said he could smell alcohol on Walker’s breath from about a foot away. “I asked him if he’d been drinking, and he said, ‘The night before,’” said Webb. He said he then took Walker into custody and handcuffed him. Police later charged Walker with murder.
Leslie lived in the townhouse with three other roommates — her boyfriend, Travis Jordan, Walker and a man named Tristan Kennedy. Her bedroom was in the basement, and the others lived upstairs. In court, Jordan said he and Leslie dated.
He testified that, on Jan. 15, 2012, shortly after 3 a.m., Leslie “came into my room and into my bed, and it woke me up. She was drunk, and I asked her to go downstairs to her bedroom and she did. I only saw her for a minute or two.” He said he then went back to sleep.
That was the last time he saw Leslie alive. That afternoon, between 1:20 p.m. and 1:30 p.m., said Jordan, “I got a phone call and a text message that led me to believe I should go check on her wellbeing. I opened her bedroom door and saw her sitting on the ground against the mattress.”
He said Leslie had a big cut on her neck. “Her right hand was covered with blood. The reality of what happened hadn’t hit me, yet, until I looked into her eyes and saw she was no longer with us.”
Upset, he threw his cell phone and went into Kennedy’s room upstairs and told him, and Kennedy called the police. Jordan said Walker wasn’t in the house and he hadn’t seen him since the day before.
Police searched the townhouse that afternoon at 4:28 p.m. Among the items they seized were knives from the dishwasher, the basement and Walker’s bedroom, plus a box cutter from his bedroom.
After Walker’s preliminary hearing, his case was sent to the grand jury, which later indicted him. He pleaded guilty Feb. 4 before Circuit Court Judge David Schell, who then set Walker’s sentencing for April 5.