'Deep sense of disappointment:' Daytona Beach Police Chief reacts to Othal Wallace verdict

The Daytona Beach Police Chief expressed his disappointment surrounding the verdict passed down in the Othal Wallace case Saturday. 

Wallace, who shot and killed Daytona Beach Police Officer Jason Raynor in 2021, was convicted of manslaughter, a lesser charge than the highly anticipated first-degree murder charge that the department and law enforcement across Florida were hoping for. 

In a statement, police chief Jakari Young said:

"Today's verdict comes with a deep sense of disappointment and frustration for me and the dedicated men and women of the Daytona Beach Police Department who are still grieving the loss of Officer Jason Raynor."

He continued: 

"It is difficult to come to terms with a verdict that is not commensurate with the despicable crime that was committed or the loss that we and Jason's loved ones have endured. Jason was a young man with a full life ahead of him and his life was senselessly cut short. There is no verdict that would bring Jason back or change how his life ended, but a verdict that brought justice to his surviving family would have offered some semblance of solace.

State prosecutors argued during the trial that Wallace despised law enforcement when he fatally shot Officer Raynor on June 23, 2021. Wallace and his defense team argued that the shooting was in self-defense.

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Officer Raynor was shot in the head and died weeks later at the hospital, officers and the medical examiner testified during the trial.

Wallace was found days after the shooting in a tree house in Atlanta, police said.

Bodycam footage that captured the moments after Officer Raynor was shot in the head was also played at the trial. 

Officer Jason Raynor’s body camera footage was played in two forms during the trial: one that was in real-time but had been altered by the FBI to brighten it a bit, and one that was slowed down.

It shows Officer Raynor walking up to Othal Wallace’s car. 

"Do you live here?" he asks as he walks up.

"What’s going on?" Wallace responds. 

The two exchange those questions back and forth, neither answering the other, as Wallace places one hand on Wallace’s shoulder and asks Wallace to sit back down in his car. 

Wallace ignores that command and tries to move past Officer Raynor, who then places a second hand on Wallace’s other shoulder, seeming to try to move him to sit back in the car.

After mere seconds, the two begin a brief struggle. A gunshot rings out, and Officer Raynor falls to the ground, with his chest facing up. Headlights shine over him, and the sound of tires screeching away comes moments later. 

On Friday, a jury spent nearly 12 hours deliberating whether Othal Wallace was guilty of first-degree murder, taking into consideration whether he should be sentenced to the death penalty. 

Without the verdict reached, the 12-member jury was sequestered for the evening and resumed at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday. A couple of hours later Wallace was found guilty of the lesser charge and placed in handcuffs before being taken into custody.