Trial set for parents of toddler sibling shot

Trial set for parents of toddler sibling shot

August 11th, 2011 by Kate Belz in News

Camron Michelle Dawn Wallace, 2, died after being shot in the chest by her 6-year-old stepbrother.

Camron Michelle Dawn Wallace, 2, died after being...

Photo by Patrick Smith /Times Free Press.

The parents of a 2-year-old girl accidentally shot to death by her 6-year-old stepbrother are set to face trial in January, a Hamilton County judge ruled.

Thomas and Samantha Wallace each face a charge for criminally negligent homicide in connection with the death of their daughter Camron. She died on July 12, 2010, after her stepbrother shot her with a gun he retrieved from the couple's bedside table in their home on Tinsley Place in Chattanooga.

The couple, both out on bond, appeared together Wednesday before Criminal Court Judge Rebecca Stern. The judge set the Wallaces' trial date for Jan. 17.

"Samantha knows the only way they're going to put this behind them and put their family back together is to go to trial, and so she's eager for that to go ahead," said Samantha Wallace's attorney, Daniel Ripper. "She and her husband are very ready to have their children back with them."

Her husband is being represented by Assistant District Public Defender Steve Brown, who could not be reached for comment Wednesday afternoon.

Thomas Wallace, 23, has made an application for pretrial diversion, a motion that gives first-time offenders the chance to avoid a trial and permanent criminal charges. The court has not yet issued a decision on whether to grant Wallace the diversion.

Samantha Wallace, 26, was not able to apply for pretrial diversion, Ripper said, because she has a past misdemeanor charge.

Currently, the Wallaces, who still are married, do not have custody of their two remaining children. Ripper said he did not know whether the children were in the custody of the state or with relatives.