Suspect in drive-by killing of girl ordered held on $5 million bail

EVERETT, Wash. - The man suspected of killing a 15-year-old girl in a drive-by shooting near Lake Stevens was ordered held on $5 million bail Tuesday.

A Snohomish County Superior Court judge ruled there was probable cause to hold the suspect, Erick N. Walker, 26, of Marysville for investigation of murder. Meanwhile, County Prosecutor Mark Roe said he is planning to file first-degree murder charges against Walker later Tuesday.

Deputies arrested Walker, a Boeing Co. employee, on Friday after evidence connected him to the deadly shooting of Molly Conley, 15, a freshman at Seattle's Bishop Blanchet High School, as she was out celebrating her birthday with friends on June 1, officials said.

Conley died after she was hit in the neck by a bullet apparently fired from an oncoming car.

Over the next few hours, several other drive-by shootings were reported in the area, with bullets fired into four occupied homes. Although police couldn't find the bullet that killed Conley, ballistics evidence from the other shootings strongly suggested all of the shootings were related, Snohomish County sheriff's detectives said in a probable cause statement released Monday.

A witness to one of the drive-by shootings reported seeing the suspect's vehicle strike a parked car with its front passenger side.

Police began investigating Walker after they discovered that he had purchased a Ruger Blackhawk revolver like the one used in the drive-by shootings in March and lived within a half-mile of two of the drive-by scenes.

They also discovered that his car had front passenger-side damage, with paint rubbings that appeared to match the damage to the parked car that was struck the night of the shootings, investigators said.

They also noticed his Facebook page, which prominently featured a photograph of two tables lined with guns - including one that appeared to be a Ruger Blackhawk.

Walker was arrested Friday as he drove away from his home. Inside the house, detectives said they found several guns, including two Blackhawk handguns.

He agreed to give a recorded statement to law enforcement, and gave varying accounts of his whereabouts that night, Pince wrote. He also said he might have seen six girls walking along the road in the Lake Stevens area, a detective said in court documents.

"Walker stated that if the paint evidence from his vehicle matches the Marysville scene and if any of the recovered bullets are matched to his weapons, he would be the person responsible for committing the crimes. No one else had his car or his guns," the detective wrote.

Conley's family issued a statement asking people not to lose sight of her as they seek to understand why she was killed.

"She inspired classmates, inspired teammates and opponents, and inspired her family to live better lives, to find hope in the midst of hardship, and to play the game - whether soccer, lacrosse, or life - with enthusiasm, determination and joy," the statement said.