Defense asks for not guilty verdict in Wallace murder trial

Defense asks for not guilty verdict in Wallace murder trial »Play Video
Dustin Wallace enters the courtroom on day six of his aggravated murder and rape trial.

ROSEBURG, Ore. -- Wednesday is day six of the Dustin Wallace trial and the defense asked for a verdict of not guilty on two counts of aggravated murder. 

Wallace is being tried in the death of 5-year-old Sahara Dwight.

The defense also asked for lesser charges on three counts of aggravated murder. That motion was granted, but Judge Randy Garrison denied giving the defense a not guilty verdict on the aggravated murder charges.

The defense argued that Dustin Wallace eventually arrived at an account of that night which satisfied police, so if he said he did not intend to kill Sahara, that should be considered a true statement. The prosecution countered that Dustin lied about his account of that night for two hours, so it can’t be ruled out that he was still lying about his intention to kill Sahara.

Prosecutor Shannon Sullivan said there was no evidence to support acquittal. Also, that medical evidence did not rule out other causes of death by asphyxiation.

The Defense argued back that even so, it qualified as Wallace’s intent to lie, not his intent to kill.

Defense attorneys called forensic pathologist Dr. Michael T. Propst to give his opinion on the case. His opinion of Sahara’s cause of death was asphyxia in, “one of three modalities.” He said that the three different ways the girl could have died were an assailants hand over her mouth, strangulation or "body weight compression."

The defense than called Dustin’s mother, Lisa Wallace, to the stand.

In emotional testimony, Lisa said that Dustin flew to Oregon from Oklahoma on July 3, 2010, after completing the ninth grade at Veragon Academy in Norman Oklahoma (a boot camp of sorts).

She said that Dustin received counseling, therapy, discipline and psychiatric services while at the academy..

It was there, she said, that Wallace had been treated and provided three prescription medications: Abilify, a mood stabilizer, Trazodone, a sedating anti-depressant and Depakote, for seizure control and mood stabilizing.

Lisa said that after taking the medications, Dustin’s behavior, “took a turn for the better.” She said that before the medicine, he was a, “difficult child and wasn’t very respectful.”

Lisa said Dustin had been in Oregon for a week without enough of these three medications.

She said she always watched Dustin take the medications, or at least ask him if he took it, but that when she dropped him off at the airport for Oregon, she didn't check.

Because his medications were so strong, she says he was only prescribed a small amount at a time. Since he was insured in Oklahoma, Lisa said she was planning on mailing him more of the medicines when he was close to running out.

After a lunch break, the defense phoned psychiatrist Dr. Jerry K. Larson, who spoke about the medications that Wallace was prescribed, and what they were for.

Dr. Larson said that the three medications, when prescribed together, serve the purpose of treating someone who has problems being, “impulsive,” “compulsive,” “who gets no sleep,” who has problems with a “learning or thinking disorder,” and who has problems “controlling their behavior and mood.”

After Dr. Larson spoke, the defense rested.

The trial is on hiatus for Thursday, and closing arguments are now scheduled to take place on Friday morning.