CLAY COUNTY, Fla. — Following an 11-hour deliberation Friday, a verdict has been reached Saturday in the trial of a man who fatally shot Daytona Beach police officer Jason Raynor in 2021.
A jury found Othal Wallace, 31, guilty of manslaughter and not guilty of first-degree murder, in which prosecutors had been seeking. Therefore, there will be no penalty phase in the death case as the Florida State Attorney's Office sought the death penalty for Wallace.
Wallace shot and killed Raynor in the head during a June 23, 2021, confrontation behind Wallace's apartment. Around 9 p.m. on the day of the shooting, Raynor who was 26, responded to a suspicious incident near Kingston Avenue in Daytona Beach, police reported. It was during this call that Raynor approached Wallace's vehicle and then the confrontation started in which details of that are unknown.
After the killing, Raynor was rushed to the hospital for surgery and recovery but died of his injuries 55 days later. A 'Florida Blue Alert' was issued statewide and a two-day manhunt ensued as Wallace fled the area after the shooting and then was captured in DeKalb County, Georgia. He was found hiding out in a treehouse outside Atlanta on property owned by an extremist Black militia group, NFAC, labeled a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
The trial was moved to Clay County in June because both sides agreed it would be difficult to pick an impartial jury in Volusia County as well as there being intense pretrial publicity.