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Wed, Feb. 26

Jury goes to deliberation on Wallace first-degree murder trial

Buddy O’Brian Wallace

Buddy O’Brian Wallace

KINGMAN – Closing arguments were heard Friday afternoon in the first-degree murder trial of Buddy O’Brian Wallace, and the jury was expected to deliberate into the evening and possibly return Monday for further deliberations.

Mohave County Superior Court Judge Rick Lambert gave jury instructions about the definition of first-degree premeditated murder, first-degree felony murder and second-degree murder, along with first-degree burglary and theft of means of transportation.

The judge told the jury the defendant is presumed innocent, and the burden of proof is on the state.

He left the door open for a possibly lesser charge of second-degree murder, should the jury find the defendant guilty of killing Charles John McCarty of Yucca on or about Oct. 11, 2015.

Rod Albright, prosecuting attorney for the State of Arizona, had no objection to the lesser charge.

Wallace is charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the stabbing death of McCarty, one count of first-degree burglary and one count of theft of means of transportation.

Defense attorney Brad Rideout brought up testimony from Sgt. John Goodwin of Mohave County Sheriff’s Office about a video tape from the Chrysler Proving Grounds that may have shown someone walking across desert to the area of McCarty’s home.

Goodwin stated that he had received the video, but the prosecution never saw it. Rideout subpoenaed Chrysler Proving Grounds to provide a copy of the video, but was told it had been destroyed.

Albright said he didn’t consider the video as critical evidence that the state failed to submit.

“We know who that person was. The person has admitted to it,” he said.

Lambert said he didn’t want this case to be repealed and remanded back to Mohave County Superior Court, so he left the video evidence to be argued by the attorneys in their closing statements.

The evidence in Wallace’s case shows a single person walked through desert somewhere near the fence of the Chrysler Proving Grounds, made contact with a witness, Don Guthrie, on Alvis Street, and then walked to the travel trailer residence of McCarty, known as “Veteran John.”

In earlier testimony, sheriff’s detectives matched footprints found at the scene of the crime with footprints found at McCarty’s 1997 Dodge pickup truck, which was abandoned near the railroad in Yucca.

Wallace admitted to detectives in their initial investigation that he killed McCarty because he believed he was a “cho mo,” or child molester.

On Thursday, the jury heard testimony from Laura Mueller, forensics scientist with Arizona Department of Public Safety. She said two swabs were taken from dark blood stains on each cowboy boot found in the bushes near McCarty’s abandoned truck.

The DNA analysis came back with a single source from one individual and the profile matched that of McCarty, Mueller testified.

Rideout said he would object to the judge denying his Dessureault motion, which is a motion challenging an “unduly suggestive” pretrial lineup identification. It could mean that a witness misidentifies the defendant not only in the lineup, but also at the trial, and leaves open the possibility of an appeal to the verdict.

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