Fired maintenance man on trial for manager murder takes stand - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Fired maintenance man on trial for manager murder takes stand

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Robert Earl Walter, 56 (Source: Bossier City Police Department) Robert Earl Walter, 56 (Source: Bossier City Police Department)
April Fulghum, 32 (Source: In Memory of April Fulghum Facebook Page) April Fulghum, 32 (Source: In Memory of April Fulghum Facebook Page)
Walter turned himself in hours after the shooting to Shreveport police at their training facility on Greenwood Road. Walter turned himself in hours after the shooting to Shreveport police at their training facility on Greenwood Road.
BENTON, LA (KSLA) -

The fired maintenance worker accused of gunning down a Bossier City apartment manager in her office in October took the stand in his own defense on Thursday, telling the jury he doesn't remember the shooting and that he is sorry.

Robert Earl Walter is charged with second degree murder for the fatal shooting of 32-year-old April Fulghum, a wife and mother of two.

"I'm very sorry. I never meant for it to happen," Walter testified. "I just wanted someone to understand. I never wanted this to happen. I never dreamed this would happen. I wanna say sorry to the family, I just wanted someone to listen."

Prosecutors pointed out that he had been fired from several previous jobs and even has lawsuit pending for wrongful termination against one of his former employers.

In about 30 minutes of testimony on the stand Thursday, Walter often appeared emotional. Much of his testimony consisted of establishing his troubles keeping jobs, his mistreatment at work and details of his complaints about each of them.

Assistant Bossier District Attorney Andrew asked pointed questions of Walter during cross-examination, suggesting he knew what to do if he had a complaint about being fired. "Why did they get a federal lawsuit and April Fulghum got 5 bullets?" "I don't know," responded Walter.

He testified that he was surprised when he was fired on Friday, October 5 from his most recent job at Lexington Place Apartments, where Fulghum was the manager. "I was devastated." And angry, according to testimony Wednesday from assistant apartment manager Leslie Walker, who recalled for the jury that Walter was screaming and cussing when he confronted Fulghum in her office that day.

The following Monday, Walter returned to the office, but because of the Columbus Day holiday, Fulghum wasn't there. He went back again on Wednesday, October 10, and there was another confrontation. According to testimony in court, Fulghum made it clear that Walter would not be getting his job back and asked him to turn in his keys.

That's when prosecutors say Walter went home, got his gun, and went back to the management office at the apartment complex.

"I clicked. I don't know," Walter testified. "Something happened."

Walter did not deny that he shot Fulghum, and even says he has no reason to doubt the testimony from co-workers who say he did.

Jacobs asked Walter if he remembers going back to his house after he was fired. "I really don't," replied Walter. "Do you remember going back into the office?" asked Jacobs. "I remember," Walter replied, "but it wasn't me going back into the office. All I was trying to do was keep my job. Do my job. I don't know. I don't know. I'm sorry."

That prompted Jacobs to ask Walter how he can remember all of his complaints about work and his employers, but can't remember those few critical hours on the day he shot April Fulghum. Walter's could only say, "It's stressful."

Closing arguments are expected to get under way Thursday afternoon in the Bossier Parish Courtroom in Benton. The case could be handed over to the jury for deliberation before the end of the day.

The 56-year-old military veteran had never been charged with a violent crime before the shooting. If convicted, he faces life in prison.

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