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Man Convicted of Killing Draper Cop Sentenced to Life in Prison

Nicole Nixon
Friends and family members move the casket of slain police officer Derek Johnson into the Maverik Center before the memorial service that took place in September 2013.

A man accused of shooting and killing a Draper City police officer last September will spend the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of parole. Thirty-four-year-old Timothy Troy Walker was convicted Tuesday morning in 3rd District court with aggravated murder in the death of 32-year-old police Sergeant Derek Johnson.

During the trial, Draper Police Chief Brian Roberts called the crime “the ultimate betrayal.” On an early morning in September, Timothy Troy Walker and his girlfriend Traci Vaillancourt stopped in Draper with a flat tire and an empty gas tank. When Sergeant Derek Johnson approached the vehicle in his police cruiser, Walker shot Johnson through his passenger window. Authorities say Walker then turned the gun on his girlfriend and himself. As part of a plea deal with prosecutors, Walker will live the rest of his life inside the Utah State Prison in lieu of the death penalty. 

Johnson’s father Randy addressed the media after the hearing. He’s says the family is grateful for the resolution.

“There’s a finality in this that was very difficult to deal with but there’s also comfort that we’re reaching that point where we can say, yes, we can now move forward. We can find those things that bring us comfort, that help us to celebrate Derek’s life,” Johnson says.

Draper Police Chief Brian Roberts says the department is also getting closure. He remarked on Walker’s sense of remorse in the courtroom

“I saw a man whose shoulders slumped and had his head went down and had emotion when Derek’s mother spoke,” Roberts says. “He seems to be a person who is very conscious of what his actions were and the results of those actions.”

Deputy District Attorney Vince Meister says Walker’s conviction doesn’t fill the void left by Johnson’s death.

“I mean you heard what a great asset he took from the community,” Meister says. “His family lost. Everybody lost.”

On Tuesday, Walker also pleaded guilty to attempted murder for shooting his girlfriend, who’s been charged for lying to investigators about the details surrounding the shooting. 

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