Tuesday, August 18, 2015
DA: Inmate says Middletown dad confessed in fatal OD death of son
Posted: Wednesday, August 12, 2015
A 39-year-old Middletown man already accused in the painkiller overdose death of his 27-month-old son now faces a murder charge after a prison inmate reportedly claimed he confessed to killing his son to get back at his wife.
Bucks County Chief of Prosecution Matt Weintraub, who is prosecuting the case, on Wednesday said that he expects to get paternity results later this month, which will determine if Coco Kollie Wallace fathered Sebastian “Buddy” Wallace, who died in October after ingesting enough oxycodone to kill an adult three times over.
Middletown police alleged that Wallace illegally obtained the opiate prescription painkillers on which his son fatally overdosed when he was charged with general homicide in November. A general homicide charge covers a variety of potential grades and degrees of intentional death.
But last month, the DA’s office upgraded the charge to first-degree felony homicide, after an attorney representing the other Bucks County inmate approached prosecutors with the claim that Wallace confessed to his client that he killed his son, according to court documents in the case.
“Obviously that is a game-changer,” Weintraub said.
The inmate told authorities that Wallace said he killed his son because he didn’t believe he was the boy’s father, according a search warrant and other court documents in the case. The inmate claimed Wallace told him that his wife had been cheating on him around the time Sebastian was conceived, and he wanted to “get back at her,” according to court documents.
The informant claimed that Wallace was crying when he confessed and asked God for forgiveness for what he did. He also claimed Wallace showed him a photo of Sebastian and his daughter that he kept in a Bible.
Wallace’s attorney, John Kerrigan Jr., on Wednesday said that his office is investigating the informant’s background, including reviewing his criminal record.
Kerrigan added that jailhouse informants are not reliable witnesses.
“They are a plague. They are people who are trying to get out of jail. They’ve been around the block a few times. Many times they know, if they come up with information, the DA’s office will help them out,” Kerrigan said.
In a sworn affidavit, Wallace’s mother told authorities that Sebastian had slept with his father in the living room the night before he died. Wallace, Sebastian and his daughter lived with his mother in a Middletown apartment complex.
Wallace’s mother told authorities that Sebastian did not appear sick or have any injuries the day before he died, court documents show.
Authorities obtained search warrants for Wallace’s jail cell as well as a DNA sample based on the informant’s information, according to court records.
When Middletown Detective Andrew Amoroso went to get the DNA sample, Wallace allegedly asked him if he believed what the informant told them about his son. Wallace also told the detective that the informant made up the story because Wallace wouldn’t buy pills from him in prison, court documents allege.
“Coco said that (the informant’s) girlfriend brought him 500 pills and (the informant) would hide them inside his mouth and sell them to inmates.”
When Amoroso asked Wallace how the inmate could know so much about his case, Wallace replied he must have seen it on the news, court documents note. Wallace also reportedly denied telling the informant anything about the case and said he only showed him pictures of his children.
The inmate has not previously informed for the District Attorney’s Office, Weintraub said. The DA’s office vetted the inmate and is confident he is telling the truth and plans to call him as a witness, Weintraub added. He requested the inmate not be identified for safety reasons.
In court filings, Weintraub told the informant he could not promise him anything because doing so could taint the inmate’s testimony. But, Weintraub said, if the inmate testified truthfully, he would be willing “if necessary” to testify truthfully for the informant.
Weintraub confirmed that the district attorney’s office has agreed not to certify the case for the death penalty because Wallace waived his right to a jury trial. A bench trial before Judge Wallace Bateman is tentatively scheduled for November.