MORRISON – Seth Wallace was obeying the voice of a spirit lord – who spoke to him in a dream and told him to drive to his cousin’s bar in downtown Rock Falls and “draw some blood” – when he shot and injured four men more than five years ago.
Five years after the attack, Whiteside County Circuit Court Judge Stanley Steines ruled that, although Wallace is indeed the shooter, he is not guilty by reason of insanity.
The half-day trial Thursday was a stipulated bench trial, meaning both sides already agreed to the facts of the case, including Wallace’s remarks to investigators, which included his confession and remarks about following a spirit lord.
Trent L. Shepard of Rock Falls was hit in the neck by the revolver fire that Saturday night, while Steven T. Addington of Deer Grove was struck in the arm, Thomas J. Parvin of Sterling was shot in the shoulder and Mason T. Preston of Sterling was wounded in the abdomen. All recovered.
“I can’t take credit for this. The Lord’s spirit lives in me,” Wallace told investigators after his arrest, which came three days after he fired six shots inside The Cooler, 311 W. Second St., on April 15, 2017.
After the shootings, which were captured on the bar’s surveillance cameras, Wallace walked out of the bar, got into his pickup and drove back home to Dillon, South Carolina.
The only evidence presented Thursday, aside from the stipulations by Whiteside County State’s Attorney Terry Costello and Assistant Public Defender Dana McCormick, was reports from three forensic psychologists, one hired by the defense and two by the state.
All three agreed that Wallace was unable to comprehend the significance of his actions that night because of mental disease or defect, which is the legal definition of insanity.
Insanity is an affirmative defense, meaning the defendant bears the burden of proving that he was insane at the time of their actions.
“I have no evidence to contradict what the doctors’ reports say,” Costello told Steines.
Thursday, the 37-year-old Wallace sat quietly, hands uncuffed but legs shackled, and answered all of Steines’ questions clearly.
He has been held continuously in Whiteside County jail since he turned himself in to Dillon law enforcement.
Now that he is acquitted of four counts of aggravated battery with a firearm, he will be placed in the custody of the Illinois Department of Human Services, where he again will undergo a mental evaluation.
A status hearing on the results will be Sept. 29.
Wallace, who a distant cousin of bar owner Kendra Sotelo, will remain in custody until then.
Source: The Daily Chronicle