Ottawa County native charged with New York slayings has troubled past

Justin Walters record

HOLLAND, MICH. - A U.S. Army sergeant accused of killing his wife and a New York police officer earlier this week had a troubled childhood in Ottawa County, which led to several prosecutions as a juvenile.

U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Justin Walters, 32, is facing two counts of murder for the deadly Sunday rampage in upstate New York.

The western Michigan native was stationed in Fort Drum, New York. That is where thousands are expected to gather Saturday to remember New York State Trooper Joel R. Davis, 36. He leaves behind a wife and three children.

Walters was living with his parents on 132nd Avenue in Ottawa County’s Holland Township when he started getting into trouble at the age of 13, court records show.

He had numerous contacts with law enforcement between May, 1998 and December, 2000, court records show.

Offenses include assault, several cases vandalism, unauthorized use of a vehicle and possession of marijuana.

Walters was prosecuted for eight offenses. He was accused of vandalizing a church and a cemetery not far from his home. Walters was also cited for violating terms of probation on two occasions.

He caused a stir in November of 1999 when, at the age of 15, he and another boy compiled a “die or dead list’’ involving students at Macatawa Bay Middle school.

Walters was in the ninth grade. He pleaded guilty to a weapon conspiracy charge and possession of marijuana.

A judge made him a temporary ward of the court and ordered a psychological evaluation.

Also in 1999, he vandalized a church just down from his home and damaged tombstones at the nearby North Holland Cemetery.

A judge ordered that he pay $400 in restitution in that case. He was also ordered to perform 40 hours of self-directed community service and get a job.

Walters joined the U.S. Army in 2007. He was stationed at Fort Drum, not far from the Canadian border, after completing two tours in Afghanistan.

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