Man gets 65 years in prison for Des Moines school shooting that killed two students

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A judge sentenced an Iowa man to 65 years in prison Thursday for killing two students at a Des Moines alternative school and injuring the program’s founder.

Polk County District Judge Larry McLellan sentenced Preston Walls, 19, to consecutive terms for his September conviction on charges of second-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter and assault causing serious injury.

A jury convicted Walls after he acknowledged killing Rashad Carr, 16, and Gionni Dameron, 18, on Jan. 23, 2023, at the Starts Right Here alternative school on the edge of downtown Des Moines. Will Keeps, the school’s founder, also was shot but survived. He quickly reopened the program, which is operated through a contract with Des Moines public schools.

Walls said he feared for his life after earlier encounters with Carr and Dameron.

Walls must serve at least 40 years of his sentence before he is eligible for release. He also must pay $150,000 in restitution to the families of Carr and Dameron.

Jurors acquitted another man, Bravon Tukes, who had been charged with murder and other counts after he drove Walls away from the shooting. Walls testified in that trial, saying Tukes hadn’t planned the shooting and had no role in the killings.