Wallace convicted of 2nd-degree murder, burglary, auto theft
KINGMAN – Buddy O’Brian Wallace was convicted Monday of second-degree murder, first-degree burglary and theft of means of transportation, spared from the first-degree premeditated murder charge sought by the state’s prosecution.
The 12-person jury returned the verdict early Monday afternoon to Mohave County Superior Court Judge Rick Lambert, beginning their deliberations Friday after three days of trial.
Wallace, 27, is scheduled to be sentenced at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday. Although less severe than first-degree murder, a conviction of second-degree murder in Arizona carries a mandatory prison sentence of 10 years minimum and 22 years maximum.
Prosecuting attorney Rod Albright said he didn’t know how the jury could convict Wallace of second-degree murder when the crime was committed in the act of felony intent to commit burglary.
“But that’s the interpretation of the jury,” Albright said as he left the courthouse. He’s going to be arguing for aggravated circumstances at Wallace’s sentencing.
During the trial, jurors heard testimony from Mohave County Sheriff’s Office detectives, DPS forensics scientists and other witnesses about the stabbing death of 70-year-old Charles John McCarty, known as “Veteran John,” on or about Oct. 11, 2015, in Yucca.
Detectives found footprints leading to McCarty’s home in the 11200 block of Bennie Drive, and matched them to cowboy boots thrown into the desert shrubbery near railroad tracks where McCarty’s truck had been abandoned.
Two forensics experts from Arizona Department of Public Safety testified about DNA analysis of blood stains found on the boots that were matched with that of the victim.
Witness Don Guthrie said he encountered Wallace on Alvis Road, one road in back of Bennie, and gave him directions to McCarty’s travel trailer residence. Wallace’s footprints were tracked from the Chrysler Proving Grounds through the desert to Alvis, then to McCarty’s home.
Wallace decided not to testify on his own behalf at the trial.
Upon his arrest, Wallace admitted to detectives that he had killed McCarty and drove his truck to the Colorado River to dispose of the murder weapon, then left it near the railroad tracks.