published Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

Date set for negligent homicide trial in death of 2-year-old

  • photo
    Samantha and Thomas Wallace listen as their attorneys set a new trial date in Judge Rebecca Stern's courtroom for Sept. 11, 2012, on criminally negligent homicide charges in the death of their 3-year-old daughter Cameron in 2010.
    Photo by Dan Henry /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

The parents of a 2-year-old girl killed when her 5-year-old stepbrother shot her with dad's pistol both have suffered equal pain after the tragedy, one of their attorneys said Tuesday.

Thomas, 24, and Samantha Wallace, 27, each face a charge of criminally negligent homicide in their daughter Cameron's death on July 12, 2010. On Tuesday, Hamilton County Criminal Court Judge Rebecca Stern set their trial date for Sept. 11.

Samantha's court-appointed attorney, Dan Ripper, said after the hearing that the Wallaces had "suffered enough" and deferred questions about their charges to the district attorney's office.

"What happened here was an accident between one young child and another young child," Ripper said. "Neither parent believes the other parent did anything wrong."

Cameron died moments after being shot in the chest with the .45-caliber pistol that Thomas kept loaded on the nightstand.

Hamilton County Criminal Court Judge Rebecca Stern set the new trial date Tuesday morning.

The trial would have begun Tuesday, but Hamilton County Assistant District Attorney Charlie Minor asked the judge to move the trial because of other previously scheduled trials, according to court documents.

Both Minor and Thomas' attorney, Assistant District Public Defender Steve Brown, said they could not comment on pending cases.

The Wallaces each are free on $2,500 bond. Minor had sought to revoke or raise their bond in September after learning the pair faced theft, vandalism, drug and assault charges in Marion County.

Stern declined to raise or revoke the bond.

Criminally negligent homicide is a Class E felony. If convicted, the Wallaces face one to six years in prison.

about Todd South...

Todd South covers courts, poverty, technology, military and veterans for the Times Free Press. He has worked at the paper since 2008 and previously covered crime and safety in Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia. Todd’s hometown is Dodge City, Kan. He served five years in the U.S. Marine Corps and deployed to Iraq before returning to school for his journalism degree from the University of Georgia. Todd previously worked at the Anniston (Ala.) Star. Contact ...

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