Crime And Law

‘He’s not a murderer:’ Family of man charged in fatal stolen police cruiser crash speaks out

DAYTON — “He’s not a murderer. I feel sorry for the family, and the two babies who died, but he didn’t wake up and just say he was going to do this ... This is not Raymond,” the ex-wife of the man prosecutors say stole a police cruiser and caused a crash in downtown Dayton that killed two young girls.

On the eve of Raymond A. Walters’ arraignment Thursday on 22 charges, including two counts of murder, News Center 7’s Sean Cudahy spoke to Walters’ father and ex-wife.

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After Monday’s story aired announcing the charges against him, Walters’ father called the newsroom and wanted to share their side of the story. News Center 7 felt as journalists, it's our responsibility to give them that opportunity.

“I’m not saying he’s an angel by no means. But he’s not Charles Manson, either,” Lloyd Walters said.

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He is talking about his son, 32-year-old Raymond Walters, the man accused of stabbing him, then stealing a Riverside police cruiser and driving 100 mph in it before causing a crash Aug. 26 in downtown Dayton that killed 6-year-old cousins, Penelope Jasko of Dayton and Eleanor McBride of Huber Heights.

On Monday, Montgomery County prosecutors announced 22 charges against him, including two counts of murder.

Lloyd Walters disagrees with the murder charges.

“Murder is when you intend to kill somebody,” he said.

But prosecutors see it differently.

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“You can expect something’s going to happen like that, going 100 mph, that you know that it’s not a good thing that’s going to happen,” Prosecutor Mat Heck Jr. said.

There are people who think it’s right that Walters is charged with murder, who say he acted so recklessly that he should have known something bad could happen.

“He wasn’t in the right state of mind,” Lloyd Walters said. “How could he know something was going to happen?”

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Walters is talking about mental health issues he said his son has, which he said are to blame for this tragedy.

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Raymond Walters’ ex-wife Shannon Walters said she has spoken to him over the phone while he’s been in jail.

“He said that ... he felt really bad about this ... that if he could give his life up for those two kids he would,” she said.

While Shannon Walters said she understands where people are coming from who call her ex-husband a monster, she said he really is someone who needs help.

“The prosecutor needs to get a grip and realize this guy has mental problems. You don't have a criminal ... he’s got mental problems. He needs help. And I think they’ve gone too far with it.”

Again, News Center 7 just wanted to give the family a chance to tell their side of the story.

Raymond Walters will appear Thursday for his arraignment in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court.

News Center 7 will be there and will follow every development in this story.