Traci Lee Vaillancourt, 35, wrote a letter to her ex-boyfriend Timothy Walker who was sentenced this week to life in the murder of Sgt Derek Johnson
Valliancourt and Walker met when she was 12 years old; the two have a 6-year-old daughter together
Walker, 34, a meth addict, killed the married father last September during a traffic stop in Utah and then shot his girlfriend in the back
Valliancourt is facing obstruction of justice charges in connection to the deadly shooting
The former long-time girlfriend of a Utah man sentenced to life in prison for murdering a police officer has spoken out for the first time since the verdict, saying that she forgives him for shooting her in the back.
Timothy Troy Walker pleaded guilty Tuesday to aggravated murder in the slaying of Sergeant Derek Johnson, 32, and was immediately sentenced to life without a possibility of parole.
In her first jailhouse interview with Deseret News, Traci Lee Vaillancourt, 35, read a lengthy letter she penned to Walker, the father of her 6-year-old daughter and her partner of more than 20 years.
The woman said she and Timothy met at age 12 and have been inseparable until that fateful night last September when her meth-addict boyfriend shot dead Sgt Derek Johnson during a traffic stop.
‘We may never know why you did what you did,’ the former model wrote. ‘For me, I’ve stopped asking why and just accepted it, because even if I knew, it doesn’t excuse it. It doesn’t lessen the hurt. It doesn’t make any sense.’
Vaillancourt admitted that she still loves Walker and continues to pray for him despite everything he had done to her.
‘I forgive you for the years of physical, mental and emotional abuse. I forgive you for putting the bullet in my back that almost took my life,’ the jailed mother of one wrote.
But Traci added that it is not her role to forgive her ex-boyfriend for the murder.
Vaillancourt, a one-time model, suffered a series of strokes that have left her severely disfigured.
In her letter, she said Walker took advantage of her health crisis instead of helping her fight for her life.
Even though she described her 22-year relationship with ‘Troy’ Walker as a ‘mess,’ she noted that she could have never imagined that he would become homicidal.
Traci Vaillancourt, who is facing obstruction of justice charges, also eulogized Sgt Johnson, saying that Draper City lost one of its finest men.
She apologized to the slain officer’s family, including his parents, wife and young son, saying that she prays for them every night in jail.
Looking ahead, the 35-year-old woman said she has learned a lot from her experience and now feels stronger without Walker by her side.
But Vaillancourt also wrote that she is terrified that her daughter, who is currently living with Walker’s mother, will reject her.
She concluded her missive with the words: ‘I’m so scared Troy. You promised we would always be together. I love you.’
When asked if she would like to see her ex-boyfriend in person, the jailed woman replied that she wants nothing to do with him anymore.
But in the next breath Vaillancourt said that Walker will forever be a part of her life because of their daughter.
The family of Sgt Johnson had considered asking prosecutors to push for a death sentence for Walker, but said they were happy with the penalty handed to his killer Tuesday.
Randy Johnson, Sergeant Johnson’s father, told KUTV: ‘Today the streets are safer, because the man that shot Derek is now off the streets and can’t hurt anyone else.’
Walker, 34, had been by the sitting in a broken down Volvo by the side of the road with his girlfriend, Traci, when Sgt Johnson had pulled over to check on them September 1, 2013.
Johnson had not even stepped out of his patrol car when Walker shot him in the right side of his torso with a 9mm Glock pistol.
The bullet pierced several of his organs, including his heart, KUTV reported.
Walker continued to fire as Johnson drove away, the court heard. Critically injured, the policeman eventually veered off the road and smashed into a tree. He later died in a hospital.
Walker then turned the gun on Vaillancourt, shooting her in the back, before trying to kill himself with a bullet to the head. He missed and the bullet ended up going through his jaw and mouth.
Vaillancourt was left with a bullet lodged in her sternum. She still faces two counts of obstruction of justice after allegedly lying to officers investigating Johnson’s death. she is due back in court next Tuesday.
As well as the aggravated murder of Sgt Johnson, Walker also pleaded guilty to the attempted murder of Vaillancourt, three counts of third-degree felony discharge of a firearm, and third degree felony possession or use of a firearm by a restricted person.
He apologized to the court for his actions. Sergeant Johnson was married to his high school sweetheart Shante Sidwell with whom he had a six-year-old son, Bensen.
Speaking last year in response to the crime, Vaillancourt’s sister Victoria King revealed her sister’s downward spiral from aspiring model and TV star to drug-addled homeless woman reliant on her violent boyfriend.
After having her first child, Vaillancourt was diagnosed with a rare blood disorder called Hereditary Angioedema which made her face, throat and limbs swell, her sister said.
She says her sister quickly became addicted to her pain medication after suffering four strokes before the age of 30. ‘It just went downhill from there,’ Ms King told KSL.com last year.
‘I tried to get him away from her. She chose a different path. … He was bad news from the get-go, I knew it, and the two of them combined, and a loaded gun nonetheless, and strung out on drugs.’
‘We tried and tried and tried to help her but you can’t help someone who won’t help themself,’ she added.
Ms King last saw her sister and Walker the day before the shootings and was left startled by his behavior.
‘He got out of the car and he was hyper, showing me a gun that has a laser and a machete and knives,’ she said.
The couple were trying to talk King into giving them cash – an event which wasn’t unusual according to Vaillancourt’s older sister.
Ms King told Salt Lake Tribune that her sister was not without remorse at what had become of her life but couldn’t work her way out of the cycle of addiction.
‘She would cry, “I never pictured my life turning out like this”,’ Ms King told the newspaper.
According to Ms King, Walker gave Vaillancourt attention and Vaillancourt ‘was attached to him at the hip’.
She says the pair had been living in and out of motels and, at the time of Sergeant Walker’s murder, were living out of their car.
She says the couple told her they needed protection and that’s why they had purchased a cache of weapons.
‘I know she was a victim, but I felt like I already lost her a long time ago. My heart is absolutely bleeding for Derek Johnson’s family,’ Ms King added in the interview.
‘I just want them to know I’m sorry’.
After Tuesday’s sentencing, Mr Johnson, Sergeant Johnson’s father, said: ‘There’s a finality in this that was very difficult to deal with, but there’s also comfort that we’re reaching to that point where we can say, “Yes, we can now move forward.”
‘We can find those things that bring us comfort, that help us to celebrate Derek’s life and also to pay back to the community.’