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ATM Worker's Slaying Part of Crime Spree, Jury Told

July 31, 1997|HOPE HAMASHIGE | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

SANTA ANA — The slaying of a former Fullerton police officer was part of a nine-month crime spree by Bill Charles Poynor, prosecutors said Thursday as Poynor's murder trial began.

The prosecutors said they will show that Poynor not only killed Robert T. Walsh but committed at least six robberies in Orange County from November 1994 to his arrest at an Anaheim motel in July 1995.

Poynor's attorney, Linda Van Winkle, admitted that the evidence that Poynor committed several of the robberies is decisive. But she said Poynor did not kill Walsh.

Walsh, 59, who had been a police officer in the 1960s, disappeared on April 14, 1995, while on his route as an ATM technician. Two days later, Easter Sunday, firefighters who extinguished a car fire in a parking lot in Orange discovered Walsh's body inside. He had been shot in the head.

Over the next six weeks, Deputy Dist. Atty. Lew Rosenblum said, he will present witnesses who will identify Poynor, in his 50s, as the man who robbed three flower shops, a movie theater and two banks in Orange County.

Rosenblum said he also will present a witness who saw Poynor throw something into the window of Walsh's car, causing an explosion.

Van Winkle said she will present witnesses who can account for Poynor's whereabouts at the times in question.

Van Winkle also questioned the motive for the slaying, which prosecutors contend was robbery. Police said Walsh had collected about $13,000 in deposits on his rounds that day. But there is no proof, Van Winkle said, that her client had that money.

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