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Death Row Diaries: Man sexually assaults multiple women in Tucson in 1991

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Posted at 7:54 AM, Apr 22, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-22 10:54:08-04

Arizona’s most notorious death row inmates past and present have incredible stories, including this one where a pest control service technician terrorized Tucson women in the summer of 1991.

ROBERT LEE WALDEN JR.

Date of birth: November 15, 1966
Sentenced: December 9, 1992

The Murder:

It was June 13, 1991, when a Tucson husband returned home to find his wife's body in their bedroom with a lamp cord still tied around her neck, with her throat cut.

Investigators found blood throughout the room, indicating a struggle to survive

A later autopsy showed that she had been sexually assaulted. It also showed numerous cuts and bruises to the victim’s body. Investigators found blood throughout the room, indicating a struggle to survive the attack. 

It was a fingerprint found on the nightstand that linked Walden to this crime and two other Tucson sexual assaults.

Earlier that afternoon a witness saw Walden at the apartment complex, she assumed he was a maintenance man because of the uniform he was wearing. The apartment unit was close to Walden’s apartment, and across the street from one of the sexual assaults. 

The Sexual Assaults:

In 1991 Walden worked as a pest control technician and committed all the attacks while on the job.

The first assault was on May 4 when a woman came to her friend's apartment and saw Walden standing near the swimming pool. Not getting an answer at the door she returned to the car and tried again after a few minutes. Still not getting an answer she turned to leave when Walden ran up behind her putting a knife to her throat forcing her to walk with him to the laundry room where he sexually assaulted her.

He returned twice to test her

He then told the victim he would kill her if she left the laundry room. He returned twice to test her. 

After the third time, the woman ran to her car and returned home.

Eleven days later while wearing his uniform, Walden went to another woman's apartment saying he was there to work on the plumbing. The woman believed she had leaking pipes and was not suspicious of Walden.

She soon became suspicious when Walden asked her to go upstairs with him. The woman began to call a friend when Walden grabbed the phone from her hands and tried to wrap the cord around her neck.

The attack moved downstairs where the woman nearly escaped but Walden as able to grab her and kicked the door closed.

I'm not gone yet, dummy, I’m still here. I'm watching you

Walden dragged her upstairs telling her, “I’m going to kill you, I can do it.”  Instead Walden blindfolded, tied and gagged her before sexually assaulting her.

He teased this victim as well as pretending to leave and then returning upstairs saying, "I'm not gone yet, dummy, and I’m still here. I'm watching you."

After a while, the victim managed to untie herself and run to the manager’s office. 

The Trial:

At trial, the two surviving victims identified Walden as their attacker, and the witness placed Walden at the apartment complex where the other victim was killed. The fingerprint left on the nightstand of the murder victim also linked Walden to all three assaults.

Walden was convicted on July 31, 1992, and sentenced on December 9, 1992

Robert Walden remains on death row.