It has been more than two years since Othal Wallace was accused of shooting Daytona Beach police officer Jason Raynor on Kingston Avenue, setting off a manhunt while a stunned city watched.
Now Wallace’s first-degree murder trial is underway. The prosecution is seeking the death penalty.
Raynor’s killing drew a strong community reaction and national media attention, which is why the trial is taking place in Clay County, 80 miles away from Daytona Beach.
So what happened from the day of shooting to the first day of the trial? Here is a timeline of events in the Othal Wallace case:
Raynor is shot during patrol on Kingston Avenue – June 2021
Jason Raynor was conducting a patrol behind 133 Kingston Ave. around 9 p.m. on June 23, 2021, when he came across a man sitting in a 2016 Honda vehicle outside an apartment building.
Raynor’s interaction with Wallace was brief, body camera footage from the officer showed.
It begins with Raynor asking to speak with Wallace, who responds by asking why the officer, “Why you asking me do I live here?” Wallace gets up and asks Raynor to “back up;” Raynor asks Wallace to “sit down.” The footage ends with the officer finally asking Wallace to “stop,” followed by the sound of a gunshot.
A manhunt was immediately underway.
Othal Wallace captured in treehouse in Georgia – June 2021
Three days later, on June 26, 2021, authorities found Wallace hiding in a treehouse in a remote wooded area in Dekalb County, Georgia, according to Daytona Beach police.
“In the treehouse with Wallace was multiple flash bangs, rifle plates, body armor, two rifles, two handguns and several boxes of ammunition,” said Daytona Beach Police Chief Jakari Young the day Wallace was captured.
Wallace was brought back to Volusia County in July and booked at the Volusia County Branch Jail.
Raynor dies 55 days later – August 2021
Almost two months after he was shot, Raynor, 26, died in hospital on Aug. 17, 2021, the police department announced via social media.
The officer’s death drew reactions from the community and its leaders, including Young, Volusia Sheriff Mike Chitwood, Daytona Beach Mayor Derrick Henry and others.
Judge sets trial for 2023 – March 2022
Wallace appeared before Circuit Judge Raul Zambrano for a case management conference in March 2022, where it was decided his trial would begin in April 2023.
The hearing marked the introduction of Wallace’s St. Augustine-based attorneys, Terry Shoemaker and Tim Pribisco. He was previously represented by public defenders.
Defense plans ‘brainwashing’ argument – September 2022
In September 2022, The News-Journal reported Wallace’s defense team was planning to argue that young Black men are “brainwashed” into believing they will be shot by police during traffic stops.
Defense puts together strategy: Defense seeks to submit evidence regarding complaint against officer in Wallace trial
They planned on calling for the testimony of Nathan Daley, a former police officer for Dunwoody, Georgia, who has a YouTube channel where he discusses incidents involving police and dedicated a nearly hour-long video to Wallace.
Wallace’s trial moves from Volusia to Clay County – April 2023
As prosecution and defense prepared for the trial, the public interest over the case had not diminished, even two years later.
Because of pre-trial publicity, which could affect seating an impartial jury, Wallace’s defense team asked Zambrano to move the trial out of Volusia County.
Circuit Judge Raul Zambrano had already shown support for the idea during previous hearings.
Zambrano issued an order in June 2023 to move the trial to the Clay County Courthouse at 825 N. Orange Ave. in Green Cove Springs, approximately 80 miles away from Daytona Beach.
Jury is selected; trial begins – September 2023
Due to the change in the trial’s venue and preparation reasons, the start of the trial was delayed from April to July and then finally set for September 2023. The jury is made up of nine women and five men, including one Black man and one Black woman.
Wallace’s trial began Monday, Sept. 11, with the prosecution seeking to prove the defendant’s guilt and ultimately the death penalty, while the defense argues a self-defense strategy.
This article originally appeared on The Daytona Beach News-Journal: Othal Wallace trial begins. Here is a timeline of events in the case.
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