Saturday, October 17, 2020

Man With 5 Prior Arrests For Beating His Wife Stabs Her To Death

By Ralph Cipriano

At 10:28 p.m. on Thursday night, Elwood Walton walked up to cops in the parking lot outside the 18th Police District at 55th and Pine, and confessed that he had just killed somebody.

That somebody turned out to be Walton's wife. Cops went to the address supplied by Walton, a two-story row house in the 5700 block of Walton Avenue. Inside, they found the victim, identified as Marilyn Zellars, 54, lying on the floor of the living room under a pile of debris that included clothes and sheets that had been soaked with blood and bleach. The victim had been stabbed multiple times in the face, neck and stomach, the cops said; she also had deep purple bruises on the torso and buttocks. 

Walton, 40, the confessed killer, had 16 prior arrests, including five cases of alleged domestic abuse where Zellars was the alleged victim, along with six additional assault arrests involving other alleged victims. For the past three years, Walton has been out on $25,000 unsecured bail, meaning he didn't have to put up a cent to stay out of jail, as he awaited a new trial after he appealed his most recent conviction. It's an open domestic assault case from 2017, where Zellars was the complainant.

The victim was pronounced dead at the scene by a medic at 10:40 p.m. Police said the house had been the setting of a violent struggle, with the victim bleeding heavily throughout the house. Police found blood splattered on a second floor stairs, a second floor hallway, a bathroom, and in the back and front bedrooms. Police also found a plastic bag in the basement filled with blood-stained women's clothing.

Walton was charged on Friday with first-degree murder, possession of an instrument of crime, obstruction, abuse of a corpse, and tampering with and attempting to fabricate physical evidence. According to court records, an order was issued on Friday denying a motion to set bail.

According to court records, Walton's most recent arrest was on May 20, 2017, when he was charged with possession of an instrument of crime with intent to commit simple assault, two counts of reckless endangerment, simple assault, possession of an instrument of crime, and contempt for violation of a court order, in an open domestic abuse case where Zellars was the alleged victim.

The same day in 2017 that Walton was arrested, his bail was set at $25,000 monetary, meaning he had to put up 10%, or $2,500. 

He was found guilty on July 26, 2017, and was sentenced to between 6 and 23 months in jail. Court records note that he was given credit for time already served in this case, and was set to be paroled after serving six months, where he was to be supervised under the Domestic Violence Unit. 

But then Walton decided to appeal his conviction, and on Jan. 9, 2018, with a new District Attorney in office, Walton filed a motion to have his bail lowered, pleading poverty.

On Jan. 17, 2018, Walton's bail was reduced to $25,000 unsecured, meaning he didn't have to post any money with the court before he was released. He also filed a motion for a new trial.

But the wheels of justice turned slowly. After his bail was lowered to basically nothing, Walton was back on the streets. And, according to court records, 11 hearing notices were posted in his case, as well as a defense continuance granted for further investigation, along with another defense motion for the appointment of a new lawyer, and a second request by the defense for a continuance. 

These delays occurred during a time when the courts were shut down for six months during the Covid pandemic. 

On Sept. 17th, Walton's new lawyer, Benjamin Cooper, filed a motion to withdraw as counsel.

On Sept 22nd, a motion for the appearance by a new counsel, Scott Kai, was filed. On Sept. 28th, yet another new counsel, Gina Amoriello, who could not be reached for comment, entered her appearance in the case. Police records say that Walton's retrial has been postponed to Dec. 16th because of Covid.

District Attorney Larry Krasner, as well as his spokesperson, Jane Roh, did not respond for requests for comment on why bail was so low for Walton, and whether there was any protection order that existed that would have prevented Walton from being around his wife. 

Walton was previously arrested in 2012, and in 2014, was found guilty of contempt for violating a court order, terroristic threats, and criminal mischief. He was sentenced to between 11 and 23 months in jail. 

In 2014, he was also found guilty of harassment, but received no further penalty.

The favors that the D.A.'s office did for Walton include marking five arrests as "Limited Access" cases, so the press and public can't see them.

Those cases include a 1999 arrest where Walton pleaded guilty to aggravated assault, and carrying firearms without a license. As part of a plea bargain,  charges of attempted murder, terroristic threats, and simple assault were dropped. Walton was sentenced in 2000 to 6 to 12 years in jail.

Other cases marked Limited Access: a second crime from the same 1999 arrest where he pleaded guilty to simple assault, got a one to two year prison sentence, and had charges of reckless endangerment and possession of the instruments of a crime dropped.

Another case marked Limited Access involves a third crime from the same 1999 arrest where Walton pleaded guilty to manufacturing, delivering or possession with intent to manufacture a controlled substance, and he received a three to six year prison sentence.

Walton also had a 2012 arrest for DUI that was dismissed marked as a Limited Access Case. Also marked as a Limited Access case: a April 6, 2017 arrest where Walton was charged with aggravated assault, strangulation, simple assault and reckless endangerment. All those charges were subsequently dropped. 

Court records say that another charge of contempt for violating a court order, stemming from a May 20, 2017 arrest, was dropped, and subsequently marked as a Limited Access case. 

A final grim note: Walton murdered Zellars during October, which is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. 


  1. Nothing to see here, please keep moving on. The DA and his cronies have so much blood on their hands (literally) and need to be made to answer to the people they're supposed to serve. Hopefully, McSwain can step in and charge krasner and co.

  2. Another criminal released early by Krasner? Wow what a shocker! And he killed someone!?! Wowwww. Lol. This has been the same song and dance for the past year at least. He’s letting everyone out early and they keep killing people. We have at least 382 homicides and they really can’t figure out why???? The district attorney needs to be arrested immediately.

  3. Do the families of these crime victims have any legal recourse under Federal Civil Rights statutes.It is quite obvious the DA is deliberately tanking these cases.


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