Marion County, Tenn., couple seek earlier trial in shooting death of daughter

Marion County, Tenn., couple seek earlier trial in shooting death of daughter

January 15th, 2013 by Todd South in Local Regional News

In this file photograph from Jan. 17, 2012, Samantha and Thomas Wallace listen as their attorneys set a new trial date in Judge Rebecca Stern's courtroom for criminally negligent homicide charges in the death of their 3-year-old daughter Cameron in 2010.

Photo by Dan Henry/Times Free Press.

Two Marion County, Tenn., parents charged with negligent homicide in the shooting death of their 2-year-old daughter have asked for an earlier trial date.

Samantha Wallace, 28, and Thomas Wallace, 25, face charges of criminally negligent homicide in the accidental shooting death of their daughter Cameron by her 5-year-old stepbrother.

The children found a loaded .45-caliber pistol that Thomas Wallace kept in his bedroom nightstand and the boy shot Cameron in the chest, according to police reports.

Samantha Wallace's attorney, Dan Ripper, said after a hearing Monday that his client has other children "not in her custody pending this case" and wants the case resolved so she can have them back.

The case is set for trial on July 30. Criminal Court Judge Rebecca Stern agreed to set March 19 as a tentative date in case another trial scheduled on that day doesn't happen.

Thomas is being represented by the Hamilton County District Public Defender's Office.

Charlie Minor is the district attorney's assigned prosecutor. All sides are scheduled to meet again on Feb. 25 to see if the earlier date will work.

The Wallaces are free on $2,500 bond each. Minor sought to have their bonds revoked in 2011 when the pair, who moved from Hamilton to Marion County after the shooting, were hit with separate theft, vandalism, drug and assault charges there.

Stern declined at that time to revoke or raise the bond.

Between 2005 and 2009, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 304 children under age 14 were killed in unintentional shootings in the United States.

In May 2012, Kydalynn Graham, 3, accidentally shot and killed herself with a .45-caliber pistol belonging to her grandfather Tommie Graham. Tommie Graham was indicted on charges of criminally negligent homicide and reckless endangerment. The girl's mother and aunt were charged with reckless endangerment.

But Whitfield County prosecutors declined to pursue charges against the 12-year-old brother of Cassie Culpepper, 11, who accidentally shot his sister with a .38-caliber revolver while riding in the back of a pickup truck on June 1, 2012.

The death of 2-year-old Brennan Nowell, who shot himself in the chest with a .40-caliber semiautomatic pistol left loaded in a chair at his grandfather's Hixson home, is still under investigation.