DAY ONE:Parents on trial in accidental shooting death of toddler - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

DAY ONE: Parents on trial in accidental shooting death of toddler

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

DAY TWO | Trial continues Wednesday

A Chattanooga couple is on trial for the death of their two-year-old daughter.

Tuesday, a jury was selected and the prosecution presented its case.

It's been nearly three years since Camron Wallace's brother found a revolver in his parents' nightstand and accidentally shot and killed his sister.

Prosecutors say it wasn't the only gun in the house.

Wiping tears from their faces, Thomas and Samantha Wallace were forced to relive the day their 2 year-old daughter Camron died.

"There was a revolver in a night stand in the master bedroom," Detective James Tate testified. "That revolver was loaded."

Samantha Wallace told Detective James Tate she was in the other room when Camron's 5-year-old sibling fired the .45 caliber revolver, hitting her in the chest.

Samantha Wallace said the boy knew not to play with guns.

"He has a .22 Chipmunk that his daddy had when he was a kid and he's shot that gun probably five, six, seven, eight times," Samantha Wallace told detectives. "We sat them all down and they know not to touch the gun unless momma and daddy are around."

But prosecutors said the parents were negligent in leaving not one, but two weapons out.

"It's a shotgun," Detective Tate answered.

"Okay and that was located along with the other gun in that bedroom," asked the prosecutor.

"That's correct," Tate replied.

Thomas Wallace told a detective he moved the revolver from the closet, just days before the shooting, because a group of men had come to the family's home, and there had been a home invasion in the neighborhood.

Attorney Dan Ripper said it's too soon to tell if the couple will take the stand in their own defense.

"I don't know," Ripper said. "That's a decision that's made at the end of the state's proof. It's a fluid situation, always, because it's kind of dependent on whether there is a need for them to take the stand."

Win or lose, those defending the couple say they are already living a life sentence, one without their little girl.

"Pretty torn up, you could see it as well as I could see it," Ripper said. "It's difficult losing a two-year-old, and then getting to come into a court a couple of years later and relive the whole thing. It's pretty difficult."

The prosecution is expected to rest Wednesday morning. Attorneys for both sides expect the jury to have the case by the afternoon.

The jury of 13 is made up of eight women and five men.

They will decide if Thomas and Samantha Wallace are guilty of criminally negligent homicide.

If convicted, they could face one to six years in jail.

TWEETS FROM @CALLIESTARNES ON #WALLACETRIAL

DAY ONE (Most recent Tweets first)

-Day one done. Judge Stern tells jurors not to watch TV, listen to radio, tell friends they're on the case.

- Only audio in video that of what sounds to be a smoke detector in need of a new battery.

- Video shows adult flip flops, towel on floor covered in blood. Blood on the walls from where Samantha Wallace carried her daughter outside.

- Members of jury watching Samantha and Thomas Wallace as much as they are the video evidence.

- Court getting a look at video taken by crime scene unit from inside the house. Blood spattered carpets. Judge Judy on TV in background.

- Prosecutor asks CPD officer how much she thinks the Wallace's gun would cost. She says $300. Then she was asked how much a deadbolt cost.

- Defense using time Mw/CPD officer to establish rate of crime in patrol area where Wallace's lived, that their front door was not secured.

- No question Samantha Wallace was distraught. Crime unit officer testifies she was covered in blood, crying, vomiting, wet herself.

- St. with CPD crime scene unit on the stand going over photographic evidence. Bullet that killed 2-year-old Camron was found in mattress.

4:50 p.m.. - Very few people in gallery. 3 people who walk in and out with Wallace's during breaks. Otherwise, empty.

4:48 p.m. - Court back in session. Defense asks judge to not allow autopsy/epics of deceased child. Judge to allow autopsy, delays pica decision. Jury in.

4:30 p.m. - Jury getting a 12 minute recess. Meanwhile, state brings in large brown bag and shotgun box labeled with evidence tags.

- No audio recorded statement of Thomas Wallace telling Kilgore about taking gun out of closet. Only written report completed 3 days later.

- Kilgore says Wallace was at work, tire shop down the street, when shooting happened. Wallace said he pulled gun out of closet 3 days prior.

- State calls 3rd witness - CPD's Deut. Justin Kilgore. He was dispatched to hospital, interviewed dad Thomas "Butch" Wallace.

- Deut. Tate says Wallace children's two small guns, Chipmunk/Cricket, were pawned, not in home at time of shooting.

- Det. Tate says the Wallace's lived in a low income, high crime area.

- Thomas and Samantha Wallace both using tissues to wipe away tears in court. Only their sniffles heard after statement finishes playing.

- Heartbreaking to hear Wallace detailing finding her youngest had been shot. She called 911. Sits in courtroom wiping face as she listens.

- Wallace told Tate that two of her children have small guns. "They know not to touch the gun unless mom and dad are there."

- Wallace says her husband got gun out of closet because three men knocked on the door the week prior. Saw report of nearby home invasion on news.

- Statement rolling. Wallace says she was getting clothes for one child & had left room. Her son was sleeping in her room because his window was busted out.

- Samantha Wallace says all three kids were going down for a nap, when she heard a big bang. That's when the 5-year-old said 2-year-old was bleeding.

- State playing statement Det. Tate took from mom - Samantha Wallace the day of her daughter's death. Wallace crying, blowing nose as asked questions.

- Det. Tate going over multiple pictures of the gun. It was fully loaded. Tate says the shot would have created a loud noise.

- Another angle shows a shotgun standing in corner of same bedroom.

- State shows pic to jury of bedroom where Camron Wallace shot. Nightstand open. Blood spatter on bed. Defense objects to pic. Judge allows.

- Det. James Tate with CPD called as 2nd witness. Says loaded revolver was in bedroom nightstand.

- Hard testimony. 2-yr-old never regained pulse. Parents, charged w/criminal negligence, sit still, not touching or looking at each other.

- Paramedic says firefighters brought Camron out of home to her. "Pulseless and not breathing. There was a gunshot wound to the left chest

- State calls first witness. Hamilton County EMS paramedic who was called to scene after 2-yr-old Camron Wallace was shot.."

- Attorney matters resolved. Jury coming back in. Group selected this afternoon. 5 men, 8 women

- Judge Stern realizes her husband represented Samantha Wallace in previous case in Marion Co. State/Defense ok w/connection.

- Judge Rebecca Stern says court will work through 6 or 7 pm.

- Stern says statement Samantha Wallace made to DCS allowed in, prior dom. violence conviction & marijuana in blood not allowed in.

- Court in session. Jury to decide if couple was criminally negligent in death of 2-yr-old child, shot by sibling.

SUMMARY STORY

The selection of a jury is underway for the criminally negligent homicide trial of the parents of a 2-year-old girl accidentally shot in 2010.

Parents Samantha and Thomas Wallace faces the charges in the death of their toddler's death.

READ MORE | Autopsy results released in toddler's death

The two-year-old was fatally shot in 2010 when her five-year-old stepbrother found a loaded pistol. Autopsy results showed two year-old Camron Wallace died of a gunshot wound to the chest.

Police said Wallace's older brother may have been playing the gun when it went off.

Samantha Wallace, age 25, was home when her daughter was shot.

Bob Haynes, the family's landlord and friend, told Channel 3 at the time what happened on Tinsley Place has rattled the community.

"They're a typical family," said Haynes, "most of us have a couple of guns, and this one happened to be left in the wrong place."

The trial began Tuesday afternoon following jury selection.

RELATED STORY | Child accidentally shot by sibling, killed on Tinsley Place

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