Muskegon murder-rape self-assurance inspected on appeal

April 22, 2015 - table lamp

MUSKEGON, MI – The Michigan Court of Appeals has inspected a first-degree murder self-assurance of Christopher Lamont Wallace for a rape-strangulation of Jennifer Phillips.

A three-judge row on Tuesday, Apr 21, unanimously endorsed Wallace’s Feb 2014 self-assurance by a Muskegon County jury.

Phillips’ physique was found around 11 p.m. Oct. 21, 2011, face down in a bathtub of her unit in a 100 retard of Allen Avenue in Muskegon. The 37-year-old was choked to death, apparently by a prolonged flare cord that military found in her unit in a rabble bag along with bloody towels, bedding and other evidence.

Police, creation a contentment check after Phillips hadn’t been listened from for a day, initial found Wallace fibbing clearly nonchalant on a living-room floor. They found a victim’s exposed physique in a dry tub. Wallace claimed someone else killed Phillips.

Police found justification Phillips’ physique had been scrubbed clean. They found rubbish bags around Wallace pressed with equipment from a scene, apparently prepared for removal. They found Phillips’ necklace and residence keys in Wallace’s pockets, as good as a used condom containing his semen and Phillips’ DNA. They also found a mark on a runner in Phillips’ bedroom, partially lonesome by a list lamp, containing Wallace’s DNA.

The murder hearing enclosed testimony by a Kalamazoo rape victim, who described an distress in 2005 identical to what Phillips suffered: being firm and raped by Wallace, who afterwards remained for hours in her home while she remained tied up. She eventually liberated herself after Wallace fell asleep.

Wallace’s interest confirmed that a hearing judge, Chief Muskegon County Circuit Judge William C. Marietti, was wrong to concede her testimony and that it foul biased a jury opposite him. The appeals justice disagreed, anticipating a testimony applicable since it showed a “common plan, intrigue or system” by Wallace.

The interest also challenged Marietti’s statute permitting testimony by Wallace’s release representative that Wallace absconded from release by slicing off his tracking device and withdrawal it nearby Phillips’ home on Oct. 20, 2011, nearby a time she stopped responding to calls and texts from family and friends. Again a appeals justice resolved with Marietti that a testimony was relevant, in this box since it placed Wallace nearby a stage of a crime.

Finally, a appeals justice resolved with Wallace that Marietti erred by revelation justification of Wallace’s before detain for unwell a drug exam while on parole, anticipating it unjust and irrelevant to a murder case.

But that blunder did not impact a outcome of a trial, a appeals judges concluded, since there was copiousness of justification to crook Wallace even but that testimony. In addition, a judges decided, Marietti “cured” any mistreat to Wallace by instructing jurors not to crook him for past control or since he is a “bad person.”

Judges Patrick M. Meyer, David H. Sawyer and Mark T. Boonstra sealed a opinion affirming Wallace’s conviction.

Wallace, 38, is portion a judgment of life but possibility of release for intentional murder. According to a Michigan Department of Corrections website, he’s a Level 4 or close-security prisoner at Michigan’s St. Louis Correctional Facility.

John S. Hausman covers courts, prisons, a sourroundings and internal supervision for MLive/Muskegon Chronicle. Email him at  and follow him on Twitter.

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