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‘You need to find her’: Mother of suspect in Colorado woman’s murder tipped off authorities

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Posted at 3:13 AM, Jun 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-16 12:40:29-04

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. -- An arrest affidavit released Thursday has revealed more details into the death of an Arvada woman and how authorities were able to arrest the suspect in the case, 43-year-old Donovan Walsh.

Walsh was arrested Saturday, after police received information that his girlfriend, 32-year-old Alicia Banks-Newton, was dead. The tipster was none other than Walsh's mother, 60-year-old Jinean Florom.

The affidavit states Arvada police went to the Cinnamon Ridge Apartments a day earlier, on Friday, June 5 at around 2:15 p.m., to check on welfare of Banks-Newton after Florom contacted police, telling them she saw her son earlier that afternoon at her home in Arizona, telling them she “believed he stabbed, and potentially killed, Banks-Newton.”

Florom told detectives Walsh was acting erratically and had Banks-Newton’s dogs in the vehicle he was driving – a suburban-style gray colored SUV with unknown license plates - which she said she didn't recognize as belonging to her son. Arresting documents show that during the encounter, Walsh told his mother he “stabbed” Banks-Newton but would not say anything else, and left her home before authorities could arrive.

Florom told the officer Walsh was probably headed to Mexico from Arizona, and urged police to check Banks-Newton's apartment for signs of foul play because Walsh “stabbed her." The affidavit then states she told police, "you need to find her."

The mother of the suspect also told officers she contacted the Pima County Sheriff's Office in Arizona after the brief encounter with her son as she was afraid for her safety and told detectives, “Donovan will hurt me. That’s his level of hatred for me. He’s dangerous.”

That same afternoon, at around 6:30 p.m. an Arvada Police Officer spoke with Pima County deputies in Arizona, who told the officer Florom spoke with Walsh that afternoon. Walsh reportedly asked for money, and mentioned something about “a place to hide (the body),” the affidavit reads. Law enforcement got a hold of the suspect’s phone carrier, which pinged his location to somewhere between northern Arizona and the southeastern portion of Colorado.

When officers went to Banks-Newton’s apartment in Arvada, they knocked on the door but no one answered. Management then came and realized the lock to the woman’s apartment was changed. Management had to drill the lock open to help police as they performed the welfare check, the affidavit states.

A judge then granted a search warrant for investigators to search Banks-Newton’s apartment later that evening. Inside the apartment, investigators found a box next to the door with the newly-replaced lock, a snake in a box by the door that was still alive and two rats running about the apartment. They also found a dead snake nearby in a cage and a dead rat in another cage, as well as feces piled up about the apartment. Arvada Animal Management Officers went to Banks-Newton apartment and took possession of the two living animals and, according to this information, “there was evidence of approximately five potential animal cruelty violations," according to the affidavit.

Arresting documents show investigators who went to perform the welfare check also noted the apartment was in disarray: a television was missing, a wall in the master bedroom was painted over, there was a large container of bleach in a guest room and a large trash bag in the bathroom containing several towels and another container of bleach in there as well - these items were seized as evidence by police. The officer, “noted the bathroom was the only room he found … that appeared to have been recently cleaned,” noting the bathtub was distinctly different from the rest of the home in that it was not in disarray. The shower curtain curtain was also missing from the tub, police said.

CSI investigators then used a chemical designed to detect suspected blood and found it reacted most strongly on the walls in the master bedroom. More suspected blood was found in the bathroom under a light switch, as well as on the floor between two bedrooms, in the hallway. Investigators pulled laminate flooring up and found suspected blood that was pooled and dried on the floorboards. Investigators then detected the “distinct odor of decomposition in the refrigerator and freezer.” There was more suspected blood in both areas, the affidavit states.

Unable to find Alicia Banks-Newton or Walsh, the officer then spoke to a neighbor at the apartment complex who told him Walsh had stayed at the woman’s apartment, along with another man, and heard Banks-Newton’s small dogs barking in an abnormally loud way on June 3, which was uncommon for her to hear. She told the officer at around 11:30 p.m. that day, she did not hear the dogs barking any longer.

The officer with whom Florom spoke told her Banks-Newton had a court appearance in Jefferson County on June 3 but failed to appear to the hearing. The officer told Florom the hearing was related to an active and permanent protection order against Walsh that prevented him from contacting Banks-Newton at home or anywhere else she was likely to be. The protection order also barred him from possession a weapon. The affidavit noted the order was not modified since it was first served to Walsh on October 28, 2019.

Documents show that at the time, Walsh allegedly strangled Banks-Newton multiple times, punched her in the face causing her to bleed, and held a knife to her neck. Walsh was convicted of third-degree assault as well as menacing, in connection with the alleged attack.

On Saturday, June 6 - a day after investigators conducted a search of the woman's apartment - detectives learned Florom had spoken with Pima County deputies on April 27. That day, Walsh admitted to his mother he stabbed Banks-Newton 15 times.

Officers investigating the disappearance of Banks-Newton in early June said they tried to ping her last known phone number, but the phone was turned off. The last known person to have spoken with Banks-Newton was her grandfather in California, approximately a month before June 5.

That day, detectives spoke with Banks-Newton's brother, who told them Banks-Newton was in an abusive relationship with Walsh, but she was not close to her family and had not talked to anyone, except her grandfather, in several months. The affidavit states it is known when the last in-person voice contact was made with the Arvada woman.

That same day, detectives obtained a search warrant/ex parte order to trace Walsh's whereabouts using his phone number. The affidavit was served at around 10 a.m., which revealed the following:

-- Walsh’s phone left Colorado on June 4 and went toward an area north of Tucson, moving toward Holbrook, Ariz. and remained there until June 6. Later that day, the phone pinged at McMillianville, Ariz.

At around 4:16 p.m. on Saturday, June 6, detectives spoke with Florom once again, who clarified several "points of interest" regarding her son, the affidavit states.

Florom said that prior to June 5, Walsh last contacted her at the start of the coronavirus pandemic in Colorado and told her she was staying at homeless shelters before moving in with someone named “Denise,” whom Florom quickly thought was likely Banks-Newton. Walsh lost contact with his mother after this conversation, according to arresting documents.

At around 10:30 p.m. on June 6, Florom told detectives she had spoken with Walsh on the phone more than a month earlier, on April 26. On that day, he told his mother he “made peace” with Banks-Newton, before sending a text the next day, on April 27, which read, “I did love her so F-----g much. What have I done." That day, he reportedly confessed to stabbing Banks-Newton 15 times.

Walsh told his mother he “blacked out” after this and found out she had been dead as long as three days to that point. Florom told his son to turn himself over to police and he refused. He told her he was not going to jail again and hung up the phone. She would not hear from her son until June 5, police stated in the affidavit.

Florom told detectives she believed Walsh was upset because he learned, around April 27, that Banks-Newton’s child was not his. Florom told detectives Walsh believed the child was his own prior to this date, the documents show.

Florom would also tell police that after she saw Walsh on June 5 at her home and he fled, she grew worried and called management at the Cinnamon Ridge apartments, where she learned an eviction notice was missing and the door lock was changed. Florom then called Walsh’s probation officer and learned Banks-Newton missed her court hearing on June 3, according to the affidavit.

Florom also told detectives her domestic partner received text messages and phone calls on Saturday, June 6, in which Walsh said he needed money and, “I still need to get rid of her.”

After learning these facts, a judge then granted detectives a warrant for Walsh's arrest in connection with a domestic violence-related protection order violation with nationwide extradition.

Walsh was eventually found in Globe, Ariz. -- alone in a blue Ford Explorer with a small dog in his possession -- on Saturday, June 6 at around 6:11 p.m. He was arrested by police officers with the Arizona Department of Public Safety, the affidavit states.

Police said he declined to speak with arresting officers about any weapons he may have inside his vehicle and asked for an attorney. A small handgun was seen in plain view by arresting officers which was tucked between the console and the front driver seat in a holster. It was left inside the vehicle, which was later impounded, arresting documents state.

Walsh was later taken to Gila County Jail in Arizona for the warrant out of Arvada.

Walsh was booked into jail on charges of first-degree murder, tampering with physical evidence, violation of a protection order and domestic violence.