Jury finds Othal Wallace guilty of manslaughter in shooting death of Daytona Beach police officer

After jurors did not reach a verdict Friday in the murder trial of a man accused of fatally shooting a Daytona Beach police officer in 2021, deliberations continued Saturday morning until one was reached.

WKMG reports the jury found Othal Wallace guilty of manslaughter with a firearm in the shooting death of Daytona Beach police Officer Jason Raynor.

Wallace faced the death penalty if he were to be convicted of first-degree murder in the death of Raynor, who was shot in June 2021 while investigating a suspicious vehicle.

Circuit Judge Raul Zambrano said he would order a presentence investigation, with said sentencing to take place within 60 days. Until then, Wallace was placed back in custody.

The jurors deliberated until 10 p.m. Friday, returning to the Clay County courthouse at 8:30 a.m. Saturday.

The defense opened Saturday by asking Zambrano for permission to give the jury more information following Friday’s questions. The prosecution said that the court had adequately answered such questions already, adding the defense hadn’t revealed what they intended to show the jurors.

Judge Zambrano said he would take further arguments into consideration if the jury had more questions, but not until then. A recess was then called and maintained until jurors knocked, and prepared with the verdict.

During day one of the deliberations Friday, the jury had several questions regarding legal detainment, concealed carry and whether it is lawful for an officer to physically restrain a citizen as a form of detainment.

Closing arguments wrapped Thursday after another day of testimony, including Wallace, who took the stand and was the defense’s only witness.

Prosecutors said that on June 23, 2021, Raynor was acting lawfully when trying to question Wallace. The defense argued that the interaction ended with Wallace shooting Raynor in self-defense.

The jury — comprised of nine women and six men — received instructions for deliberations on Friday morning.

Wallace’s trial took place in Clay County after his defense team argued it would be difficult to find an impartial jury in Volusia County because of how much coverage the case had received.

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, 2021, that he died as the result of his injuries. Raynor was laid to rest on Aug. 23, 2021, in a tribute that took place across Volusia County.

Wallace was arrested in a multi-state manhunt 56 hours after the shooting.

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