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Victim's family, convicted murderer have heated exchange during sentencing

Brenton Walker, 55, was sentenced to 45 to 70 years in prison. ( photo)
Brenton Walker, 55, was sentenced to 45 to 70 years in prison. ( photo)
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*This story contains graphic details*

PRESQUE ISLE COUNTY, Mich. (WPBN/WGTU) -- After a heated courtroom with testimony from the victim's family, a man was sentenced to prison for murder Monday.

Brenton Walker, 55, was sentenced to 45 to 70 years in prison for killing and dismembering Heather Young.

Walker told the court he has no remorse about killing Young.

“I am by no means sorry about what I did," said Brenton Walker to the court.

Walker and Young met at a bar in Onaway and went back to Walker's home last July.

Walker told police he became upset because Young started talking about her boyfriend, so he shot her in the leg with a .22 rifle.

Walker claimed he helped her bandage that wound, but she allegedly sprayed him with mace and tried to get away.

That's when Walker said he shot her again, and later dismembered and burned her body.

Walker told the court Monday during his sentencing hearing he had just met Young, but murder was an idea he thought about a lot before.

“Well now when I was given the opportunity to follow through with something that I’ve known for a long time that I’m capable of doing, it felt great," Walker said. "I feel vindicated because of it. I’ve never felt better in my life.”

Several members of Heather Young's family sat and listened while Walker described why he chose to kill her.

“The fact that it happened to this particular individual was because number one: she reminded me a lot of my ex-wife and other women I’ve been with, a liar, a dope-fiend and a w****,” Walker said.

Harsh words from Walker were followed by some from Young's family.

“I hope you will never again have a pleasant day for your entire life," said Gail Walker, Young's mother. "I hope you live in misery and pain for the rest of your life and you will be every prisoner’s ‘little Suzie.’“

During most of the family's testimony, Walker laughed to himself.

“He said he’s happy now," said Jeffery Cunningham, Heather Young's former husband. "I would be happy to take him out, if you would let me. And I hope wherever he goes, you know, they might do that for me.”

“He stands there with a smirk on his face," said David Bentler, Young's father. "That is not right, and they need to get ready to bring the death penalty back into Michigan.”

“Get rid of this man," said Loree Cunningham, Young's daughter.

She then yelled "My mother was never a whore," before officers took her out of the court room.

Walker took a plea deal in this case. He pleaded guilty to second degree murder and felony firearm. In return, some of his charges were dropped, including first degree murder.

In court, Walker admitted to shooting Young twice, burning her body and then cutting her up with a chainsaw.

Walker's account startled those in the courtroom, even prosecutor Kenneth Radzibon.

“His actions were probably some of the most egregious actions by a perpetrator against a victim that I have experienced in my 40-some years of legal experience,” Radzibon said.

Heather Young went missing July 30 in Onaway. Michigan State Police found her body in August in the Millersburg area.

Young was originally from the Marshall area but was staying in Onaway for several weeks. State Police say Young left her boyfriend after a disagreement and was later seen at a bar in Onaway.

Troopers than interviewed a person who was reported to have last been with Young.

The investigation led authorities to a home in Millersburg on Rainy Lake Road.

State Police brought in additional assets from the Michigan State Police Aviation unit, the Grayling Crime Lab and equipment from the CRTC Training Center in Alpena. They investigated an 80 acre piece of property. They recovered evidence from the scene. Later in the day, Heather Young's remains were found in a wooded area.

"It can happen anywhere," said Michigan State Police Lieutenant John Grimshaw. "It really doesn't matter where you live unless maybe you're on the moon and there's no one else who lives there with you. Crime happens up here and it's just the nature of people being people."

State Police say the suspect was the last person seen with Young on July 30 while they were together at the Cabin Bar and Grill in Onaway.

Young's car was found nearby the restaurant.

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Heather's father spoke passionately after hearing of the charges back in August.

“That jerk killed my daughter," said David Dentler. "He doesn’t even realize what he destroyed. How about my daughter’s kids, what they’re going through."

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