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Leslie Ann WALLACE





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Parricide - Rampage
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: September 2, 2001
Date of arrest: Same day (wounded by police)
Date of birth: May 5, 1962
Victim profile: Her son James, 6
Method of murder: Shooting (16-gauge shotgun)
Location: North Fort Myers, Lee County, Florida, USA
Status: Pleaded no-contest. Sentenced to life in prison on December 8, 2003
photo gallery

Mother Gets Life For Killing Young Son

She Avoids The Death Penalty By Pleading No-contest To First-degree Murder

December 9, 2003

FORT MYERS — A woman who fatally shot her 6-year-old son with a shotgun and tried to kill two other sons two years ago pleaded no contest and was sentenced to life in prison Monday.

Leslie Ann Wallace, 41, pleaded no-contest to first-degree murder, attempted murder and eight other felony counts stemming from the Sept. 2, 2001, rampage, said her attorney, Robert Harris. The plea allowed her to avoid the possibility of the death penalty.

Investigators said she killed her son, James, with a shotgun blast while he sat watching cartoons at the family's North Fort Myers home. Then she went to the church where her 16-year-old son Kenny was attending services. She fired at him, but the blast struck a Bible in his pocket and spared him serious injury, police said. A third son, Gregory Wallace, 19, was not injured although detectives said his armed mother tried to get him to come out of a restaurant where he was working.

Police stopped her by shooting her six times. Investigators said she was upset with her mother-in-law's complaints about her sons and thought the only way out was to kill them.

Wallace, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, has a history of psychiatric problems and had been taking medication for bipolar disorder.

An insanity offense had been considered, but Harris said Monday that reports from court-appointed doctors disagreed about her mental state.

Thus it was too risky to take that defense to trial, especially with prosecutors seeking the death penalty, he said.

"This was really Leslie's decision," Harris said of the plea deal. "She really didn't want to put her family through a trial. She wanted to do this as painlessly as possible for them."


Emptiness, grief haunt dad a year after wife killed son

By Andi Atwater - News-Press-com

December 22, 2002

Today it has been 15 months since Bill Wallace buried his youngest son.

The grave site in Fort Myers is now a familiar place.

On Sept. 2, the first anniversary of his son’s killing, Wallace and his teenage son, Kenny, released a half-dozen yellow balloons in the air, each with messages to James “Buggy” Wallace:

“We Miss You.”

“We Love You.”

Singer Mark Wills crooned “The Balloon Song” in the background on a portable CD player. Bill Wallace plays that song often.

“I miss his hugs,” Wallace said, his eyes brimming with tears, tired with endless, unanswerable questions. “But he’s still with me. He will always be with me.”

Today, National Children’s Memorial Day, the Wallace men will light a candle for their loved one, as thousands of parents who lost children will do at 7 p.m. around the world.

It’s been more than a year since Leslie Wallace, police say, gunned down her 6-year-old son while he watched cartoons on a Sunday morning.

She then, unsuccessfully, went after her two teenage boys.

As Leslie Wallace, 40, sits in Lee County Jail awaiting trial on a first-degree murder charge, her estranged husband and two sons have tried to move on with their lives, to try to make sense out of a senseless killing and find solace in a world where pain tinges everything.

Kenny Wallace, 17, whose life was spared when the blast from the shotgun was stopped by his Bible, has entrenched himself in school and church.

He wants nothing to do with his mother, his father said.

Greg Wallace, 20, who escaped the shooting rampage by locking himself inside a Pizza Hut, will try to rejoin the Army within two years, his first attempt thwarted by terrifying nightmares that began during gun training earlier this year.

He sometimes talks to his mother.

Bill Wallace, 45, his beard now shaved and his eyes heavy from a year of sorrow, tries to get through his days with grace and compassion, driven by the belief that one day he’ll be reunited with his beloved James.

He started collecting angels.

“I go on breathing every day; I put one foot in front of the other,” he said. “I want nothing more than to hold James — but I don’t want to sound suicidal because I’m not. I won’t give in to it. I have my boys to think about and I believe I won’t get to see James again if I did something like that.”

It’s still hard not to blame himself, tormented by the “what if” and “if only” questions that plague most surviving parents.

Wallace replays that morning over and over again in his mind.

He had to run some errands. James wanted to go with him, but Wallace said no, stay with Mommy.

James was dancing around, imitating a Power Ranger. James’ running back into the house as his father drove off is Bill Wallace’s last living memory of the boy.

“Yeah, I a blame myself. I stood my wife up, gave her and hug and said, ‘You want to go?’ Bill Wallace said. “She said, ‘No, I have something to do.’ I didn’t know she meant kill my son.”

Attorneys for Leslie Wallace will use the insanity defense in Wallace’s trial. Her next appearance in court is Jan. 21, but the case isn’t expected to go to trial then because she’s still being examined by psychologists.

Her family said she has a history of mental illness — depression — and court records show she dabbled in witchcraft and called herself “Palm Frond.”

According to police, when Leslie Wallace called 911 that fateful day, she told a dispatcher, “I just shot a 6-year-old boy ... He’s probably dead by now.” She then added, “I just regret that I missed my 16-year-old."

Somewhere deep inside, Bill Wallace has dredged up some compassion toward his wife of 14 years.

“I don’t hate Leslie,” he said. “I hate what she did, but I don’t hate her. Hate would just eat me up, destroy me.”

He went to see her once in July — via a video monitor — but the meeting didn’t go very well because Bill Wallace said he wanted a divorce.

His compassion is akin to pity.

“There is no chance of us getting back together,” he said. “I’d look at her and I’d see the woman who killed my child. It’d be like saying James’ life was not worth anything.”

Still, he doesn’t want to see Leslie Wallace get the death penalty if she’s convicted. At the same time, he bought cremation services for her and arranged to have her interned next to James.

“She needs to live with this the rest of her life — just like we do,” Wallace said. “It’s only fair. She’s still the mother of my kids. They lost their brother and I lost my wife. Under these circumstances, I don’t think the death penalty is appropriate.”

On Thanksgiving, Wallace and his sons ate dinner as a family, the chair to the left of Wallace’s empty but for a picture of James, a smile gracing his cherubic face.

Symbols, great and small, mark the days.

Angels abound in the Wallaces’ rented house in Cape Coral: on shelves, pinned to hats, around Bill Wallace’s neck.

Wallace’s adoring Pomeranian puppy made its first sound at James’ grave.

A green striped shirt that James wore is laid out on Bill Wallace’s bed, a comfort, he says, during the silent, lonely nights.

James’ face graces the computer screen saver on Wallace’s desk. Wallace still takes James’ child-size fishing pole with him.

And in a china cabinet in the dining room, some of James’ favorite toys are displayed — a yellow Picachu Pokeman, a Transformer, a toy truck and several action figures.

If he can find someone to do it, Bill Wallace wants to get an angel painted onto his black car, preferably with the likeness of James.

“It’s getting easier, but it’s still hard,” Wallace said.

Wallace keeps mostly to himself these days, the anguish of his son’s death still the overriding emotion that haunts him.

He wants to move on. He’s even eager to move on. But a few courageously attempted dates have convinced him he’s not yet ready.

“Let’s face it, this subject matter comes up and it makes things awkward,” he said. “And with so much emptiness inside, you’re overflowing and you end up smothering the other person.

“I’ve come to realize that I’m in a Catch-22 right now — I’m aching with emptiness, but I can’t really be around other people. At least not yet."


6-year-old known for perpetual 'big smile'

Classmates struggle to understand death

By Pamela Smith Hayford -

September 5, 2001

NORTH FORT MYERS —Six-year-old James Wallace was a happy-go-lucky brown-haired boy who always wore a big smile at Tropic Isles Elementary School.

That’s how Principal Don Bryant remembers the first-grader whose mother killed him with a shotgun blast Sunday.

He was “bright, a very bright young man. Always had a big smile on his face,” Bryant said.

Leslie Wallace, 39, told 911 operators she shot and killed her 6-year-old son and went after her two teen-age sons because of her mother-in-law’s constant complaints about the boys.

The tragedy shocked teachers, students and parents at Tropic Isles.

“I don’t understand. I don’t understand how anyone can take it out on her child,” said Kathy McCann as she picked up her second-grader. “My daughter doesn’t understand. The only thing she asks is why.”

That was before Jessica McCann went to school Tuesday and stopped by her friend’s first-grade class to see him. It was then that 7-year-old Jessica realized the little boy whose mother shot him was the same friend she’d been hanging out with in school since last year.

When asked about James, Jessica’s smile vanished and she almost started to cry.

“He was one of my friends,” she said. “I was wondering where he was.”

A team of crisis counselors were on campus Tuesday to talk with students and teachers.

“It’s real difficult determining which ones comprehend it and which ones don’t,” said Chuck Bell, director of student services for Lee County schools. “It’s hard for us to comprehend what they’re understanding, but also the issue is we’re also dealing with students of different age levels within that school.

“Some may have some relationship through the playground or after school.”

Children ages 5 to 7 generally feel loss but have difficulty grasping the permanence of death.

Bell said denying the students their feelings could cause adjustment problems later on.

The children in James’ class vented their feelings in a creative way.

“James’ classmates are writing their memories of James to give to the family,” Bryant said.

Bell said the best thing adults can do for the children is be honest, give them the facts to their questions and let them ask what they want.

“The best we can do is provide a lot of support and the willingness to listen,” Bell said. “If some of them don’t want to talk about it, that’s OK, too. If they’re nervous and giggle or laugh, that’s OK, too.”

Lisa Cowels, a teaching assistant, said her pre-kindergarten students weren’t really aware of what happened and didn’t know James.

But Cowels said she saw and heard the effects on other students.

“I’ve heard a couple of kids say ‘My friend, did you see, he was shot,’ ” Cowels said. “It’s pretty scary saying your friend’s been shot in the first grade.

“Because of all this, I’m going to keep an eye on this one,” she said, her 9-year-old son waiting patiently by their minivan.

Bryant held a staff meeting first thing in the morning to let teachers and other employees at the school know about what happened.

“It’s been a stressful day here,” Bryant said. “We will be doing something as a school to assist the family.”

Bryant said he won’t know what that is until he talks with the family.

As the school grieved Tuesday, James’ father, Bill Wallace, and Steve Rogers, pastor of New Wine Ministries, made funeral arrangements.

North Fort Myers Memorial Funeral Home, which is handling the arrangements, will not charge the financially struggling family for funeral expenses, which can run between $1,500 and $3,000 for a child, said Jeff Andrews, manager.

“Cost doesn’t matter,” Andrews said. “We’re trying to help the family best we can. They’ve been through enough."


Cops: Bible Saves Boy From Mom's Gunshot

September 4, 2001

A Bible carried by a Florida teenager may have saved his life after his mother allegedly fired a shotgun blast at him.

Police say Leslie Ann Wallace, 39, confronted her 16-year-old son Kenneth outside his church Sunday morning and opened fire with a 16-gauge shotgun.

His leather-bound Bible absorbed most of the blast as he stood on the sidewalk outside the church, apparently saving his life.

Police: Woman Methodically Attacked Sons

Wallace had already allegedly killed her youngest son, 6-year-old James, at the family's Fort Myers, Fla., home, as the boy watched TV in the family room, police said. She then drove to the church where she allegedly confronted 16-year-old Kenneth, and then unsuccessfully pursued her 19-year-old son, Gregory.

"This is every person's nightmare. It's her husband's nightmare, the grandmother; It's our nightmare," Lee County Lee County Sheriff Shoap told ABCNEWS' Good Morning America today.

The woman, a Marine Corps veteran, was being treated with antidepressants.

"We do know this morning that there is some mental health issue here," Shoap said.

After shooting Kenneth, Wallace drove to the Pizza Hut where her son Gregory worked, and attempted to coax him outside, police said. Police had already warned him to hide, however.

‘I Am His Mother and I Shot Him'

Wallace then made a 911 call, calmly telling authorities what she'd done.

"I just shot a 6-year-old boy at 1461 Maranatha Drive, North Fort Myers. He's probably dead by now," she told the 911 operator, according to a transcript released by police.

"I am his mother and I shot him."

She continued to describe the scene and said she had pursued her other children as well.

"I just regret that I missed my 16-year-old," she said. "I left because I went to go and try to shoot my 16-year-old, but he got away."

In the call, she said she had attacked her children because her family had moved in with her mother-in-law, who had complained about the youths.

When deputies arrived on the scene, she got back in her car and fled, police said. At the Caloosahatchee Bridge she stopped, got out of the car and fired once at the deputies chasing her, according to police and witnesses.

Deputies returned fire, wounding the woman five times, and she was taken to Lee Memorial Hospital. This morning, police said they had not charged her.

ABCNEWS affiliate WZVN contributed to this report.


Mother’s 911 call ‘heartless’

Alleged shooter complained about mother-in-law

By Sharon Turco -

September 4, 2001

Leslie Wallace told 911 operators she shot her 6-year-old son to death and attempted to kill another because of her mother-in-law’s constant complaints about the boys.

“We’ve been living with her since February and that’s all I’ve heard her bitch about was the kids, the kids, the kids, the kids,’’ she told the dispatcher Sunday during her 45-minute shooting spree. “My kids couldn’t play basketball. My 6-year-old couldn’t even play with his toys because it bothered her.”

To end their misery, Wallace told authorities she killed James and intended to kill her 16- and 19-year-old sons, before dying herself.

The 39-year-old mother made the chilling 911 call from outside the North Cleveland Avenue Pizza Hut where son Greg, 19, was working.

“I just shot a 6-year-old boy at 1461 Maranatha Drive, North Fort Myers,” she told the dispatcher when asked what her emergency was. “He’s probably dead by now.”

Wallace gave the dispatcher detailed instructions on how to get into the house, saying, “You’ll find the body of a 6-year-old that’s probably had half its chest blown off by a 16-gauge.”

Later during the almost two-minute call, when the dispatcher asked Wallace why she killed her son, she said, “Because my husband moved me and my three boys in with my mother-in-law and she’s been nothing but hell. All she’s done is bitch about the boys since the day we moved in.

“I just regret that I missed my 16-year-old.”

Deputies captured Wallace in a shootout on the Caloosahat-chee Bridge after she fled from outside the restaurant, Lee County Sheriff’s Captain Richard Chard said.

Wallace, her husband Bill, and their three sons had lived with Bill Wallace’s mother, Kathleen Wallace, on Maranatha since February.

Wallace has been under a doctor’s care, Chard said, and was taking the medication Wellbutrin, which is prescribed for bipolar disorder, and Tegretol, which is prescribed for seizures.

She did not take the medication Sunday because she planned to die, Chard said.

Chard said the 911 call is hard to believe because of Wallace’s blase attitude.

“Very cold, heartless, very nonconcerning, very matter-of-fact,” Chard said. “There is no doubt in my mind, she knew what she was doing the entire time.”

Wallace remained in serious condition at Lee Memorial Hospital on Monday.

“Once she is dismissed, she will be charged accordingly,” Chard said.

Investigators are considering charges of first-degree murder, first-degree attempted murder, several counts of aggravated assault and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony.

James died from a massive shotgun blast to the chest, according to an autopsy performed Monday by the medical examiner’s office.

Bill Wallace and his son, Kenny, spent Monday together, said Steve Rogers, pastor of New Wine Ministries where Kenny Wallace was worshipping Sunday.

Wallace began her killing spree at home Sunday at about 10:15 a.m. after her husband took his mother to the hospital for blood work, Chard said.

The couple had fought over finances that morning, Chard said.

“James asked to go with his dad,” Rogers said. “But Bill said no.”

Wallace is accused of shooting her son with a 16-gauge shotgun blast to the chest as he watched television, Chard said.

“Bill feels like it’s his fault, if only he had taken James with him,” Rogers said.

Wallace then drove her Geo Metro less than 5 miles to the Pondella Road church, where Kenny played bass in the youth band.

Wallace walked into the church lobby about 10:20 a.m. and asked to speak to her son, Rogers said.

Kenny was in a back room and a woman went to get him, Rogers said.

Wallace walked outside, arming herself with the shotgun. She fired at Kenny as he walked out the door at about 10:30 a.m. A leather-covered Bible that Kenny carried stopped nearly all of the shotgun’s blast, authorities said.

“God intervened and saved Kenny’s life,” Rogers said.

Kenny ran back inside the church just as the service started.

A woman screamed, “There’s a woman with a rifle in the parking lot.”

A barrage of 911 calls from people at the church flooded the sheriff’s office.

“We need a police officer right now, please,” one frantic woman told the dispatcher, alternately telling her what happened and giving a description of the shooter. “There was a shooting outside our church. ... There’s a woman with a shotgun at the front of the church shooting. ... She shot at one of the kids out in the parking lot, but he didn’t get hurt.”

Rogers ran into the parking lot, but Wallace had left already. She drove to the Pizza Hut at 13190 U.S. 41 just south of Hancock Bridge Parkway, where her eldest son, Greg, was working.

Wallace also worked at the restaurant as a delivery driver.

She called 911 at 10:41 a.m. from a pay phone outside the restaurant.

She explained, “We were sitting in the Florida room and I shot him with a 16-gauge just to the right of the heart.”

There was nobody with her son, Wallace told the dispatcher, saying, “I left because I went to go and try to shoot my 16-year-old, but he got away.”

In the meantime, other dispatchers called the restaurant warning them not to let Wallace inside or allow anyone to leave.

Wallace then abruptly hung up saying she saw a deputy.

At one point Wallace is accused of pointing the gun at the restaurant’s manager but didn’t shoot. She never attempted to go inside.

Rescue workers were already on their way to help James.

As Wallace pulled out of the parking lot driving south over the Caloosahatchee Bridge, four deputies in marked cars trailed her.

At the foot of the bridge, near downtown Fort Myers, another deputy blocked the road, forcing Wallace to stop at 10:47 a.m.

When Wallace got out of her car she aimed the shotgun toward the line of deputies behind her and fired.

Deputy Chuck Taggart fired back, shooting six rounds, five of which hit Wallace on her left side, knocking her to the ground.

She fired another shot, a witness said, but then deputies kicked the gun away from her, and handcuffed her.

As deputies chased Wallace out of the restaurant, Greg left heading to the church to see Kenny, Rogers said.

He arrived at the end of the service, where worshippers prayed for him, Rogers said.

After the service, Rogers went to the family’s home, where he found Bill and his mother outside.

“Where are my kids?” Rogers recalls Bill Wallace asking. Rogers answered saying that a Bible had saved Kenny’s life.

“God saved his life, but why didn’t he save James?” Rogers said the distraught father cried out.

A tragedy unfolds


911: 911, what is your emergency?

Wallace: I just shot a 6-year-old boy at 1461 Maranatha Drive North Fort Myers. He’s probably dead by now.

911 dispatcher: 1460 what ma’am?

Wallace: Maranatha. (She spells it out) M-A-R-A-N-A-T-H-A.

911 dispatcher: Stay on the line and I’ll connect you ma’am.

Ambulance and fire dispatcher: Ambulance and fire, can I help you?

Wallace: You better get a rescue unit over to 1461 Maranatha. That’s M-A-R-A-N-H-A (sic) Drive. It’s off Oakley.

Ambulance and fire dispatcher: What’s going on there ma’am?

Wallace: You’ll find the body of a 6-year-old that’s probably had half its chest blown off by a 16-gauge.

Ambulance and fire dispatcher: OK. How old was the child? 6-year-old. A little boy, a little girl?

Wallace: Boy. If they come in. If the rescue unit goes through the carport, into the one door it’s unlocked. They go through the kitchen and into the Florida room.

Ambulance and fire dispatcher: OK, how did this happen? Do you know?

Wallace: I shot him.

Ambulance and fire dispatcher: OK, you shot him?

Wallace: I am his mother and I shot him.

Ambulance and fire dispatcher: OK. Law enforcement, do you have any special requests?

Sheriff’s dispatcher: Ma’am, where are you at?

Wallace: I’m at Pizza Hut on North Cleveland.

Sheriff’s dispatcher: Pizza Hut.

Wallace: Yes.

Sheriff’s dispatcher: Where did you shoot him at ma’am?

Wallace: We were sitting in the Florida room and I shot him with a 16-gauge just to the right of the heart.

Sheriff’s dispatcher: OK. What street is this off of ma’am?

Wallace: The house?

Sheriff’s dispatcher: Yes.

Wallace: Oakley.

Sheriff’s dispatcher: Is there anybody there with him?

Wallace: Nope.

Sheriff’s dispatcher: Ma’am, your child is at Maranatha Drive?

Wallace: Yes he is.

Sheriff’s dispatcher: Ma’am, why did this happen?

Wallace: Because my husband moved me and my three boys in with my mother-in-law and she’s been nothing but hell. All she’s done is bitch about the boys since the day we moved in. I just regret that I missed my 16-year-old.

Sheriff’s dispatcher: And is there anybody there with the son right now?

Wallace: No, there’s not. I left because I went to go and try to shoot my 16-year-old, but he got away.

Sheriff’s dispatcher: And where’s your mother at?

Wallace: My mother-in-law is at Lee Memorial Hospital getting blood drawn. With the boy’s father.

Sheriff’s dispatcher: And you did this because your mother-in-law complained about the kids?

Wallace: Yes, we’ve been living with her since February and that’s all I’ve heard her bitch about was the kids, the kids, the kids, the kids. My kids couldn’t play basketball. My 6-year-old couldn’t even play with his toys because it bothered her.

I got to go now, I see a deputy.

Sheriff’s dispatcher: Ma’am.



Report links murder suspect to witchcraft

Court papers paint image of loving mom that snapped

By Mike Hoyem -

The North Fort Myers woman who police say went on a bloody rampage Sept. 2 (9+2=11) — leaving her 6-year-old son dead — practiced witchcraft and went by the name “Palm Frond.”

Leslie Wallace, 39, studied the Wicca religion and — though the belief teaches nonviolence — kept recipes for death spells and ailments for enemies, according to reports made public Tuesday.

The reports also said Wallace, an ex-Marine who once was institutionalized after trying to kill herself, was kept under a suicide watch while recovering at Lee Memorial Hospital from five gunshot wounds.

A guard there wrote that she had this reaction to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks: “This is not the way she wanted to be ‘upstaged’ in the news.”

The reports said Wallace pulled a gun on her oldest son, Gregory, 19, in March or April of this year. But husband William Wallace stepped in, calmed his wife down and the family “called a truce.”

The fundamental commandment of Wicca, according to the Church and School of Wicca Web site, is “If it harm none, do what you will.”

According to police, Wallace deviated from that commandment in September, when she killed her son James and tried to shoot her other two sons, including one whose life was saved by a Bible.

“Leslie decided she was fed up with listening to her mother-in-law complain about the kids,” said a report that described the slaying in chilling detail. “Leslie decided the only way out was to kill her kids and eventually commit suicide by cop.

“Leslie went into her bedroom and grabbed a pillow from her bed and went into the Florida room after James. ... She tried to kill James by smothering him with the bed pillow. Leslie was unsuccessful in this attempt to kill James because he fought back and she simply could not complete the murder.

“She stopped and removed the pillow from James’ face and James said to her, ‘That wasn’t nice, Mommy.’ Leslie did not respond.”

The report — apparently based on a statement Wallace gave investigators — said Wallace went to her bedroom and retrieved a 16-gauge shotgun. She walked back to where James was watching cartoons.

“Leslie pointed the gun at him and James yelled, ‘No, Mommy, no!’ as Leslie fired the shotgun at him one time,” the report said. “Leslie saw the blast hit James in the right chest. He never said anything more. James just cried and fell over on the couch.”

The shotgun blast put a hole in the boy the size of a baseball.

From there, according to reports, Wallace drove to New Wine Ministries in North Fort Myers, where she tried to gun down her son, Kenneth, 16, sending a panic through the church.

The boy’s life was spared when the shotgun blast hit a Bible he held in front of him.

Police said she next went to a Pizza Hut in North Fort Myers where she tried to kill Gregory. But that attempt failed, too, when Wallace couldn’t get through the locked doors.

The rampage ended in a gun battle with Lee County sheriff’s deputies on the Fort Myers side of the Caloosahatchee Bridge. After firing at deputies, Wallace was shot and critically wounded.

Wallace, who was contemplating a divorce in the days before the shooting, is now in the Lee County Jail facing one count of first-degree murder, one count of attempted first-degree murder, four counts of aggravated assault and four counts of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer.

Death penalty sought

If convicted, prosecutors say they’ll seek the death penalty.

Deputy Assistant Public Defender Robert Harris is on the team that will defend Wallace.

“The only thing I can tell you is there is a history of mental illness,” Harris said. “We’ll be looking into that.”

“We’re aware of Mrs. Wallace’s history,” state attorney’s office spokesman Tony Schall said. “The issue is not of mental illness but of legal insanity. That’s still to be determined.”

The documents released Tuesday — more than 1,000 pages of them — became public as part of the discovery process, in which attorneys in the case exchange information.

They paint a bizarre portrait of a woman who was said to be a loving mother until going over the edge.

According to reports, after killing James and trying to shoot her other sons, Wallace told police she was upset because her mother-in-law was always complaining about her children.

The family had moved into Kathleen Wallace’s home off Maranatha Drive to help with the bills. But the tension was constant.

Family members gave sworn statements to police Sept. 2. In her statement, Kathleen Wallace said Leslie Wallace bragged about being bipolar and “if she did anything they wouldn’t do anything to her.”

She also said Leslie Wallace may have shot James to spite her husband. James was Leslie Wallace’s only child with William Wallace. The other boys were from a previous marriage.

“He was such a wonderful little child,” Kathleen Wallace said. “Nobody could touch him in being smart. .... I figured that’s probably where she started when I found out something because that would hurt me the most and hurt Bill the most ’cause that’s his only natural child.”

James was shot after William Wallace had taken his mother to the hospital to give blood for a test. As they left the house, the pair asked Leslie Wallace if she wanted to go. Leslie Wallace said she had “something to do.”

“My mother was concerned with the idea of the way she says, ‘I’ve got something I have to do,’” William Wallace told investigators.

Kathleen Wallace said she knew nothing of Leslie Wallace’s interest in the occult. But Leslie Wallace apparently devoted a lot of time to it, even keeping a Wicca journal she called “Book of Shadows.”

“I came to this name through thought and looking at my past and present,” Wallace wrote on June 22. “My name is Palm Frond, the leaf of the mighty Palm. The tree of tropical climes can withstand the hurricane yet bend gracefully in a gentle tradewind. A palm frond can be used for fanning or shade, yet can cut you to ribbons.”

On June 18, Wallace wrote that witchcraft, “is the art of methods of control.”

“Society itself is full of bigotry toward witches and witchcraft,” Wallace wrote. “As it doesn’t deal with Christianity, it is feared and loathed. My goal is to better learn of the craft and to apply it to being a solitary Wicca.”

State of mind

One journal entry sounds like a woman struggling to maintain control of her life.

“I feel I will gain the peace I am searching for and have been for 39 years,” Wallace wrote. “I feel I may lose myself.”

Wallace not only had death spells and a “coffin nails” spell designed to bring illness to a foe, but also had a “money doubling spell” to help her win the lottery. Some spells appear to have been sent to her over the Internet by fellow Wiccans, including one with the e-mail name “luckyhoodoo.”

William Wallace knew of his wife’s witchcraft.

“I did not approve,” he told an investigator.

“Is she into white witchcraft or black witchcraft?” the detective asked.

“As far as I know, white witchcraft,” Wallace responded.

“So she’s into good witchcraft?” the detective asked.

“Supposedly, yes,” Wallace said.

Leslie Wallace’s mental condition is described in the reports as bipolar and manic depressive. She had been taking medication for years prior to the shooting.

According to Wallace’s children, she tried to kill herself several years ago in Maryland.

“How’d she try to commit suicide?” an investigator asked Gregory Wallace.

“She had a 12-gauge right up inside of her mouth when my brother walked into the room,” Gregory answered, adding that his mother was put in a mental institution for about a month after Kenneth, the brother who witnessed the attempt, went to school and told office employees what happened.

William Wallace is a hunter and there were guns in the house — six shotguns, three rifles and a handgun.

Gregory Wallace gave a written statement about the incident with the gun in March or April.

“That morning I got into an argument with my father,” he wrote. “It started to get physical and my mom got tired of it so she went back to the bedroom and grabbed one of the shotguns. She then proceeded back to the living room where she then aimed the gun at me.

“My Dad stepped between us and took the gun out of her hands and I stepped out of the room at my Dad’s request. He then sat down and talked to my mom. Then a little bit later called me back out and we called a truce. I am unsure if the gun was loaded."



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