SHAWNEE — A convicted sex offender who pleaded guilty Thursday to the brutal 2010 beating death of 19-year-old Ethan James Walton was spared a possible death sentence after he agreed to help law enforcement officials in Wisconsin with an unsolved double-murder dating back to the early 1990s.
Glendon Carl Gouker, 42, was sentenced to life without parole for Walton's murder and also pleaded guilty to eight other offenses, including rape, forcible oral sodomy and possession of a controlled substance with the intent to distribute.
The victim's mother, Kathleen Kline, addressed District Judge John Canavan on Thursday before Gouker was sentenced, calling the convicted killer “a monster” who destroyed her family.
“I see a monster,” Kline said. “I see someone who could have been stopped, or at least corrected, when he was younger and wasn't. I think that's the problem.”
Kline initially wanted to see Gouker put to death for killing her son, but said she changed her mind when she learned he was a person of interest in a pair of killings out of Wisconsin.
“There are other families out there that deserve to know that Gouker's not going to be able to get to them anymore,” she said. “That way Ethan didn't die in vain. I beg that they continue.”
About the case
According to prosecutors, Gouker beat Walton to death on Sept. 8, 2010, and raped the victim's girlfriend a short time after the murder.
Records show that Walton was trying to arrange the sale of some land that his father owned and that Gouker may have showed interest in buying some of it.
Walton's girlfriend at the time, who was in the courtroom Thursday but did not speak, eventually escaped Gouker's residence and ran across a dark field to a neighbor's house for help. The woman, who was 20 at the time, had been raped repeatedly by the time she fled the residence.
When authorities arrived at Gouker's rural residence near Prague on the day of Walton's murder, they found the victim had been crammed into a 55-gallon drum.
He was handcuffed, his ankles were taped together and officers at the time said it was apparent he had been bludgeoned to death. His girlfriend's clothes were found under his body.
Gouker's half sister, Michele Gouker, was arrested in connection with Walton's murder, as well.
At the time of Walton's murder, Gouker and his half sister lived together on the property, along with two of Michele Gouker's children.
Walton's former girlfriend said Michele Gouker shot at her as she fled the home the siblings shared.
She also said Michele Gouker checked on her numerous times while she was handcuffed to a bed in the home.