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​​Alabama GOP Activist Accused of Murder, Sexual Torture of Man

Kyle Lewter, 36, who is active in the Republican Party and headed a local chapter of the Young Republicans, is accused of killing and sexually torturing David Walls, 54

<p>GoFundMe; Madison County Sheriff

GoFundMe; Madison County Sheriff's Office Facebook

Derek Franklin Walls; Kyle Hayden Lewter

A man who headed a local chapter of the Alabama Young Republicans and campaigned for many political candidates is accused of murder and sexual torture in connection with the death of a 54-year-old man who was found dead inside his home early Thursday, say authorities.

Later that day, Kyle Hayden Lewter, 36, was arrested and charged with murder in connection with the death of Derek Franklin Walls, the Madison County Sheriff’s Office said in a release.

On Friday, Lewter was charged with sexual torture and sexual abuse with an inanimate object, the MCSO said. Authorities are waiting for autopsy results before releasing Walls' cause of death, WAFF reports.

Walls’ uncle grew concerned when Walls failed to answer the door when he went to check on him, and the uncle called 911, WAFF reports.

Sheriff’s deputies responded and found Walls dead inside his home on Capshaw Road in Harvest, the MCSO said.

“It appears that there was a physical altercation between both individuals who were known to each other, which ultimately resulted in the death of Mr. Walls,” the MCSO said.

Lewter was taken into custody and is being held on $60,000 bond, according to online jail records.

According to Lewter’s Facebook page, he has worked as an administrator in clinical research at the O'Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Alabama since 2020.

He is also very active in the Republican Party on the local and state level, according to social media posts and local news stories.

Calling Lewter “a political animal since middle school,” a 2017 story about him in The News Courier says he helped Alabama State Sen. Tom Butler and former Alabama State Sen. Henry White with their political campaigns, and also campaigned for President Donald Trump. Lewter also did campaign work for former U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks and former U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions, he said in a 2017 interview, The News Courier reported.

In a statement given to WAFF on Friday, Butler said that when Sheriff Kevin Turner called him about Lewter’s arrest, he said he was “speechless” and “saddened for all families involved.”

The Madison County Young Republicans Facebook page, which helps recruit and train new party members, identified Lewter as the organization's vice chairman, WHNT reports.

As authorities continue to investigate, Walls’ family and friends are mourning his loss.

Shelby Thorson, Walls’ daughter, set up a GoFundMe page to defray funeral expenses.

“My dads life was taken from him in the middle of the night on March 6th,” she wrote in the post.

A representative for the Madison County Young Republicans did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's requests for comment.

It is unclear whether Lewter has retained an attorney who can speak on his behalf.

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