CLAY COUNTY, Fla. – Testimony began Monday for the man accused of shooting and killing a Daytona Beach police officer. Investigators say Othal Wallace shot officer Jason Raynor in 2021. The trial was moved from Volusia County to Clay County at the request of the defense.
Prosecutors began opening statements by describing what led to the shooting and what happened after. Attorney Andy Urbanek said within minutes of the shooting, Wallace posted several stories on Instagram to tell his followers he loved them, “black power,” and to not let “the pigs” bother them.
Defense attorney Terry Shoemaker went next to say Raynor trapped Wallace to where he could not escape while he was trying to question him. He said Wallace was trying to defend himself and should not be guilty of first-degree murder. Shoemaker said the Instagram posts Wallace made were “senseless rhetoric based on what was going on in the country.”
Former Daytona Beach Police Officer, Amanda Dickens, took the stand and watched her body camera video from the scene in 2021. It shows her responding to the scene where officer Jason Raynor was shot in the head.
“Hang on Jason! Hang on Bud! Oh man, they’re coming, just hold on,” could be heard in the video.
Prosecutors say Wallace shot Raynor when Raynor tried to question him about a stolen car that looked similar to the one Wallace was driving.
A prosecutor told the jury, “You will hear Officer Raynor tell him four times: stop, stop, stop, stop man. And then you hear the gunshot, and the proclamation by the defendant. (expletive) that man!”
They say Wallace then took off in the car, dropped it off in Gainesville, then had his brother drive him to a property in Georgia, where he was found with several guns days after the shooting.
Wallace’s defense team says he shot Raynor in self-defense. “Raynor is in front of him with his hand on his shoulder, and a hold on the door. There’s no way for Mr. Wallace to go.”
Wallace was arrested in a multi-state manhunt 56 hours after the shooting.
Attorneys say Raynor’s body camera video will be shown to the jury at some point during the trial. Raynor died in the hospital almost two months after he was shot.