Judge plans for 2023 trial date for Othal Wallace, man accused of shooting Daytona Beach officer

Judge plans for 2023 trial date for Othal Wallace, man accused of shooting Daytona Beach officer

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. – A trial for the man accused of fatally shooting a Daytona Beach police officer in June could begin in 2023.

Othal Wallace, 29, could face the death penalty on first-degree murder charges if convicted in the death of 26-year-old Officer Jason Raynor. During a case management hearing Tuesday, a judge set a target date for the start of the trial as spring 2023 to give attorneys ample time to gather evidence and witnesses. He also set another hearing on the case for March 4 to check on them.

The 7th District State Attorney’s Office announced it would be seeking the death penalty against Wallace after the death of Raynor, who died 55 days after being shot in the head in the line of duty while investigating a suspicious vehicle. Police said Raynor stopped responding, prompting other officers to respond to the area.

“The homicide was committed in the cold, calculated and premeditated manner,” State Attorney RJ Larizza said during a September news conference.

Raynor, who had been with the Daytona Beach Police Department for about three years, was rushed to Halifax Health in grave condition after he was shot in the head. He had remained in critical condition following surgery until officials said on Aug. 17 he died as the result of his injuries. Raynor was laid to rest on Aug. 23 in a tribute that took place across Volusia County.

Wallace was arrested after a multi-state manhunt 56 hours after the shooting. He previously faced a charge of attempted first-degree murder of a law enforcement officer before an arrest warrant with an upgraded murder charge was served.

Brenda Argueta