Monday, July 5, 2010


Janet Jensen Staff photographer
The Yaquina Bay Bridge stands at the edge of the Pacific Ocean in Newport, Ore. Three people recently admitted playing a part in tossing 16-year-old Walter Thomas Ackerson Jr. of Puyallup off the bridge in 1990. His body was never found.

Killer's confession caps 20 years of lies
SEAN ROBINSON; Staff writer /
Published: 07/04/10

For a long time, Karen Hull stopped saying she was the mother of a missing child. It was easier not to tell the story. The dreams came less.

For a long time, she didn’t know what happened to Walter in 1990. She knows now.

Walter Thomas Ackerson Jr., an undergrown Puyallup boy of 16, was beaten to death, or close to it. He was 200 miles from home, a student at a federal Job Corps center on the Oregon Coast.

His assailants: three older boys, fellow Job Corps students. After the beating, they carried Walter, perhaps still alive, to the second southbound pillar of Newport’s Yaquina Bay Bridge, a crescent of cable and steel looming 10 stories above the edge of the Pacific Ocean.

They shoved Walter over the rail and watched him fall.

They lied for 20 years.


Confessions came in August 2009. Charges of first-degree murder and first-degree manslaughter were filed Wednesday in Lincoln County, Ore., Circuit Court: trial to follow, date to be determined.

The defendant: Troy Culver, 40, of Prineville, Ore., a one-time classmate of Walter’s at Job Corps. In multiple statements to police, he admitted killing the teen and throwing him off the bridge. Bail: $1.25 million.

Read facts about the senseless murder of Walter Hull in Oregon...

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