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Sirens & Gavels

Wallace had been to drug rehab before

Charles Robert Wallace, who shot two sheriff's deputies last Tuesday before leading police on a chase that ended with his suicide, had been to drug rehab long before a judge allowed him to leave jail to give it another chance last month.

He completed “intensive outpatient” treatment in 2000 and a continuing care program through Coyote Ridge Corrections Center in 2001, according to court documents.

He also took courses on victim awareness, stress and anger management, as well as a “Breaking Barriers” course that aims to teach offenders better living skills. He also completed “moral reconation therapy,” which aims to improve the moral thinking of criminals.

The therapy apparently didn't have much of an effect on the man who would go on to commit one of the most high-profile crime sprees in recent Spokane County history.

One month after he was dropped from probation, Wallace was arrested with heroin during a traffic stop in Spokane.

That resulted in Wallace returning to prison in February 2003 and being released in April 2006. He was arrested in Adams County just two weeks after his release and ordered back to prison. He left again in October 2009. His probation period with the Washington Department of Corrections ended on Nov. 10, 2010.

As first reported in this story, a review of Wallace's criminal history in Spokane County shows a pattern of disobeying court orders, using drugs and fighting with law enforcement.

A document prepared by a court officials in 1985 for a car prowling charge says, “Charlie has made no effort to comply with his court-ordered conditions.”

Wallace, then 13, was ordered to spend five days in juvenile detention. He also was convicted of attempted assault in 1984. He wrote in court documents that “I pulled out my knife when I was fighting with my sister.” He stole a bottle of wine from a grocery store and stole a bike from a home in 1985. He also was convicted of indecent liberties for having a sexual relationship with a girl under the age of 14 in 1984.

Wallace first went to prison in July 1998 for after leading a Washington State Patrol trooper on a high-speed chase in Spokane Valley on Nov. 15, 1997.

Wallace ditched the stolen truck he was driving and ran from the trooper but was arrested after a struggle.

Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich, then a deputy, was off duty but witnessed the arrest and helped the trooper by picking up a syringe and pouch filled with drug syringes, spoons and methamphetamine located near Wallace, according to court documents.

“I remember it like it was yesterday,” Knezovich said, though he said he didn't realize who the man was until a reporter contacted him Wednesday evening.

Knezovich said he was recovering from shoulder surgery at his apartment home with his three young children when a neighbor knocked on his door and told him a trooper needed help.

“Wallace led the trooper on quite a chase through the apartment complex,” Knezovich said. “He was fighting with the trooper really hard.”

Police found a loaded shotgun in the truck that had been reported stolen a year earlier. Knezovich said the gun Wallace used to shoot Deputies Matt Spink and Mike Northway on Tueday also was stolen.

The truck in 1997 belonged to Wallace's mother, Melissa A. Wallace. She told police her son stole her truck and identified him as the driver.Wallace became irate when she did - police say he kicked the right rear window of a police cruiser and had to be controlled with leg restraints.

It wasn't the only time Wallace victimized his mother. He was charged with forgery in 1996 for forging a check from her and cashing it at a Liberty Lake bank for $275. Wallace's mother told a sheriff's deputy Wallace had been living in a travel trailer on her property on Campbell Road in southeast Spokane County for several years, according to court documents.

Wallace was sentenced to five years in prison but served less than three. He began probation in March 2001, but his freedom didn't last long. He was arrested in May 2002 on drug charges after the traffic stop in Spokane. A Spokane police officer said Wallace began to exit his car during a traffic stop but obeyed the officer's commands to remain inside and close the door. Wallace was arrested after the officer found heroin in the car.  Police also found heroin, cocaine, marijuana and drug paraphernalia at his home in the 1200 block of West Alice Avenue.

He was ordered to report to Geiger Corrections Center for drug monitoring on June 25, 2002. It wasn't until September that he arrived at Geiger, and when he did, he tested positive for methamphetamine, cocaine and morphine. He escaped from Geiger in December 2002 and was convicted of second-degree escape.

He returned to prison in February 2003 and was released in April 2006. He was arrested in Adams County on a heroin charge just two weeks after his release and ordered back to prison. He was sentenced to just 12 months, but the arrested violated his previous “Drug Offender Alternative Sentence,” so he was ordered to serve the remainder of that prison sentence.

He left again in October 2009. His probation period with the Washington Department of Corrections ended on Nov. 10, 2010.

View a PDF version of the 1997 report involving Knezovich and Wallace here.

A summary of Wallace's criminal history can be viewed here. It does not include convictions for possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver cocaine, possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver heroin, second-degree escape from 2003 and the Adams County drug conviction in 2006.

Look for more coverage soon from The Spokesman-Review regarding the decision to release Wallace.

Past coverage:

June 22: Man accused of helping cop shooter to stay in jail

June 21: Task force directed deputies to stop SUV


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