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Man pleads guilty to killing Utah police Sgt. Derek Johnson
Sentencing » Timothy Troy Walker will spend his life in prison for killing Draper police Sgt. Derek Johnson.

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Johnson was hit in the chest. He tried to drive northbound to safety, but Walker, who was allegedly under the influence of methamphetamine at the time, fired at least three more shots, which struck Johnson’s vehicle.

Johnson, 32, died a short time later.

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"Derek was trying to help you that morning," said the officer’s mother, Laura Johnson, her voice cracking with grief. "Instead you gunned him down."

Walker then turned the gun on his girlfriend, Traci Vaillancourt — who was charged with two counts of second-degree felony obstructing justice for allegedly lying to investigators about what happened on that day — before shooting himself in the jaw in a failed suicide bid.

For the first several months of Walker’s court proceedings, he was unable to speak to his lawyers or the judge, as his mouth was wired shut post-surgery.

Defense attorney Denise Porter told the court Tuesday that once Walker was able to speak again, one of the first things he told her was that he wanted "to take responsibility for his conduct."

The officer’s widow, Shante Johnson, told Walker between sobs that it was the "only thing" he could do.

"I’m grateful today that you’ve done the only thing that is right. It’s the only thing you can do," Shante Johnson told Walker, sobbing. "I hope you take what’s left of your life and do something with it."

As Johnson’s family exited the courtroom in tears, their arms finding each other in the cramped hallway of the West Jordan courthouse, Walker’s family hurried past.

His mother, who declined to speak to the media, cried, "I still love him," as she walked by.

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"There are no winners in these cases," Deputy Salt Lake County District Attorney Vince Meister said. "The family’s lost, everybody’s lost. There are no winners."

Johnson’s family and supporters donned black and blue ribbons to honor the fallen officer, shield pins to show their support of and by the Draper Police Department and American flag-patterned ties.

Darin Johnson, strung Buddhist mala beads around his neck as a symbol of peace and remembrance. Along the strand, he added pieces of aquamarine — his deceased brother’s birth stone.

"My brother, my best friend, my mentor, my hero, was taken from me," he said in court.

Walker’s girlfriend, Vaillancourt, 35, remains in the Salt Lake County Jail, where she is completing a drug treatment program. She has a scheduling hearing set for Tuesday before Kouris.


Twitter: @Marissa_Jae

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