NEW YORK, NY – In a tragic and disturbing case that has shaken a New York community, 23-year-old Khalid Barrow was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison for the murder of his cousin, Nisaa Walcott, 35. The heinous crime, which involved strangling Walcott, concealing her body, and then impersonating her to access her finances, has left a family in profound grief and a community in shock.
As presented in court, the case details reveal a chilling sequence of events. Barrow, after murdering his cousin in her East Harlem apartment, went to great lengths to cover up his crime. He asphyxiated Walcott, then tied her ankles with a Wi-Fi cord and hid her body inside a plastic tub lined with fabric scraps. The tub was then placed in a storage room. In a further attempt to mislead, Barrow cleaned the apartment with bleach.
But Barrow’s deception didn’t end there. He began impersonating Walcott, sending text messages from her phone to her 14-year-old son and other relatives, manipulating them for financial gain. He even attempted to rent a car to transport her body upstate, but failing that, he moved the tub containing her body to the roof of her apartment. During this time, he used her credit cards and accounts to purchase various items, including marijuana, beverages, and food.
The case took a turn when a relative, concerned about Walcott’s safety, texted her asking for a photo to confirm her well-being. Barrow responded with an old photo, which the relative recognized as such. This prompted the family to report Walcott missing to the police after noting strange and uncharacteristic text messages.
The investigation led to the discovery of Walcott’s body in a storage bin in the Bronx, a discovery made by a man who resells discarded personal belongings. Surveillance footage from Walcott’s apartment building showed Barrow entering with her and leaving alone. Additional footage captured him dragging a large plastic bin to the roof of the building and, a week later, removing a large plastic container with the help of an unidentified man.
The emotional impact of the crime was palpable during the sentencing. Omir Walcott, the victim’s son, expressed his profound loss in a tearful victim impact statement, saying, “My whole family is destroyed.” Acting Supreme Court Justice Laura Ward described the case as one of the saddest she had ever presided over, highlighting Barrow’s betrayal and callous disregard for his cousin and her family.
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg commented on the case, emphasizing the unspeakable betrayal and the resilience of Walcott’s family members, who attended the trial daily, enduring distressing testimony. He acknowledged that no sentence could undo the family’s pain but expressed hope for their healing.
Barrow’s lawyer, Adam Freedman, noted that his client did not appear in court, unable to face the extended family. The conviction of Barrow on charges of second-degree murder, concealment of a human corpse, grand theft, and criminal possession of stolen property marks the end of a harrowing chapter for the Walcott family. It serves as a stark reminder of the depths of human depravity.