Lowndes Co. murder conviction goes to Supreme Court on racial gr - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Lowndes Co. murder conviction goes to Supreme Court on racial grounds

Georgia Supreme Court (WALB image) Georgia Supreme Court (WALB image)
Deron Michael Wallace (GA DOC photo) Deron Michael Wallace (GA DOC photo)
ATLANTA, GA (WALB) -

A case dealing with racial 'selective prosecution' will be heard next week by the Georgia Supreme Court in Atlanta.

Deron Michael Wallace is appealing his murder conviction in Lowndes County, because a white woman involved in a murder was allowed to plead to a lesser charge.

In Wallace versus the State, Deron Michael Wallace is appealing his murder conviction in Lowndes County, arguing that one of his co defendants was “selectively prosecuted” and convicted only of armed robbery because she was a white woman from Georgia while he was a black man from New York.

In 2013, Deron Michael Wallace and Michael Pindling moved from New York to Valdosta, where they lived together on West Hill Avenue. In July that year, they began working at the local International House of Pancakes, where they met co-worker, Kathryn Cortez, who was about 21, and white.

The three needed money for a trip to New York, and devised a plan to rob Robert Daniel “Big Rob” Pett, who was a drug dealer. Pett was killed in an ambush, and Pindling was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole. Wallace was sentenced to life plus five years in prison with the possibility of parole.

Wallace’s attorney argues the trial court erred by convicting and sentencing him for murder, armed robbery, and other crimes. “These counts constitute selective prosecution because co-defendant Cortez, who was equally or more guilty, was allowed to plead to armed robbery for the minimum 10-year sentence.”

Wallace is represented by J. Converse Bright. Attorneys for the State are: Jessica Clark, Sr. Asst. District Attorney, Samuel Olens, Attorney General, Beth Burton, Dep. A.G., Paula Smith, Sr. Asst. A.G., Matthew Crowder, Asst. A.G.

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