Man Accused in Highland Park Robbery Found Not Guilty

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Lamar O. Wallace. (Photo courtesy YPSO)
Lamar O. Wallace (Photo courtesy YPSO)

A defense attorney’s argument that the alleged victim in a Williamsburg robbery made inconsistent statements proved enough to acquit a 26-year-old man of felony charges Thursday.

The accuser, a former drug dealer who has lived in Williamsburg for 15 years, said he was “100 percent sure” Lamar O. Wallace robbed him in his car the night of April 20, 2014 in the Highland Park neighborhood on North Henry Street.

Defense attorney Patricia Nagel argued the only evidence Wallace committed the crime came from the accuser, who made several inconsistent statements throughout the jury trial Friday and was therefore not credible.

After hearing from four witnesses and deliberating for about 90 minutes, a five-male, seven-female jury found Wallace not guilty on one count of robbery and one count of use of a firearm in the commission of a felony.

A third charge of conspiracy to commit robbery was dismissed by Retired Substitute Judge Randolph West before closing statements. West said no evidence of the conspiracy was apparent.

Wallace was suspected of getting into the man’s blue 1991 Dodge vehicle with one other person, holding a gun to his head and taking drugs and money from him after having a phone conversation and agreeing to meet up for a drug deal.

Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Josh DeFord said the victim, a longtime drug dealer and convicted felon, was “targeted” by Wallace because of his drug dealings.

DeFord said his illegal dealings were considered “weaknesses.”

“That’s the exact reason people like him rob people like [the accuser,]” DeFord said, pointing at Wallace during closing arguments.

Wallace’s attorney Patricia Nagel argued the accuser was not credible, was a “career” criminal with convictions in Philadelphia and had been mentally affected by the drugs he had taken over the last 30 years.

“[The accuser] has been 100 percent sure of everything until he’s caught in a lie,” she said during closings arguments, adding the accuser’s memory was selective.

She interrogated the accuser at length, pointing out inconsistencies between his testimony at the preliminary hearing in May and his statements Thursday.

In May, the accuser said he received a call from Wallace — whom he knew by face but not by name — telling him to come to Highland Park.

When the accuser arrived, Wallace got into his car on the front passenger side, and held a gun to his head, DeFord said. The second suspect entered the backseat and held a gun to the accuser’s waist.

The accuser called 911 after the two suspects had vacated the car with his wallet and crack cocaine and gone into what he described as a black Chevrolet Impala.

The second suspect was identified a few days after the incident as Wallace’s brother Steve Lorenzo Olvis. Olvis had charges against him dismissed in July due to lack of evidence.

Williamsburg Police located the accuser near the Econo Lodge at the intersection of Second Street and Parkway Drive, nearly a mile and a half away from where he said the robbery occurred.

Investigator Lang Craighill with the Williamsburg Police Department testified the man picked Wallace out of a photo lineup a few hours after the incident.

DeFord said the man testified he was “100 percent sure” Wallace was his assailant.

Nagel argued there was no physical evidence tying Wallace to the crime: no fingerprint matches, no forensic evidence and no video surveillance.

“This whole case will come down to the believability of [the accuser,]” Nagel said.

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