Man Faces Murder Charge in Shooting of Fla. Police Officer

Sept. 2, 2021
A grand jury indicted a 29-year-old man accused of killing Daytona Beach Police Officer Jason Raynor, and prosecutors say they will seek the death penalty if he's convicted.

Othal Wallace, who is accused of killing Daytona Beach Police Officer Jason Raynor, has been indicted for first-degree murder by a grand jury and could face the death penalty if convicted.

Wallace, 29, is being held without bond at the Volusia County Branch Jail.

Raynor, 26, died on Aug. 17 at Halifax Health Medical Center 55 days after he was shot while on patrol.


For Wallace to be formally charged with first-degree murder, the Florida Constitution requires an indictment by a grand jury. State Attorney R.J. Larizza repeated during a press conference Wednesday that his office will seek the death penalty against Wallace.

Prosecutors listed five legal aggravators in support of the death penalty if Wallace is convicted: the crime was committed to hinder or disrupt the enforcement of law or a legal government function; the crime was specially heinous, atrocious or cruel; it was committed in a cold, calculated and premeditated manner without any pretense of moral or legal justification; the victim was a law enforcement officer engaged in official duties; and the felony was committed by a criminal gang member.

Before Raynor's death, Wallace had been charged with attempted first degree murder of a law enforcement officer, for which he faced life if convicted.

Wallace is accused of shooting Raynor in the head on June 23 when the officer tried to question him as he sat in a car parked outside an apartment building at 133 Kingston Ave., according to a charging affidavit.

Police said Raynor and other officers were paying extra attention to the area because of citizen complaints about crime. Raynor's body camera video captured his initial effort to question Wallace. Raynor asked Wallace to remain seated in the car, but after a few seconds Raynor stood up. Shortly after that Raynor's body camera video became shaky and then ended.

Days after Raynor was shot, Wallace was arrested in a treehouse in a rural area outside Atlanta, Georgia. On July 9, Wallace entered a written plea of not guilty to the initial charge of attempted first-degree murder with a firearm of a law enforcement officer.

Wallace's next court appearance is set for Oct. 29 before Circuit Judge Raul Zambrano.

The killing of a law enforcement officer who is acting in his or her official capacities is one of the aggravating factors in Florida law that allows prosecutors to seek the death penalty.

Wallace had been a member of the NFAC militia but was no longer a member by the time he was accused of shooting Raynor.

Wallace also once participated in a YouTube broadcast with members of the New Black Panther Party, said Amy Iandiorio, an investigative researcher at the Center on Extremism at the Anti-Defamation League. She described the New Black Panther Party as one of the largest anti-Semitic and racist militant organizations in the country.

Larizza said at the press conference that the decision to seek the death penalty was not difficult in this case.

"This was a law enforcement officer engaged in his lawful duties," Larizza said. "And if you look at some of the posts and some of the evidence that we've been able to gather from social media and look at some of the posts about the defendants mindset was even before this homicide occurred it made it very easy, very easy."

Larizza didn't specify it, but a past Instagram post on Wallace's account contained an ominous message: "1 Day I will Take Great Pride And Honor In Getting Me Some [Pejorative term for police] Blood On My Hands and Boots......If U Cant Feel This Energy Following Me Is Not Goin To Be Healthy For U.....I Pray Against My Enemy And Wish Death To All Who Are Oppressive To The Black Culture.......Black Power!!"




Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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