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Man pleads not guilty of murder by reason of mental illness

CHEYENNE (WNE) – A man accused of murdering his 80-year-old mother pleaded not guilty Thursday morning in Laramie County District Court.

James Brian Wallace pleaded not guilty by reason of mental illness to first-degree murder after he was found to be competent to proceed in his case following more than a year of mental competency restoration proceedings.

Defense attorney Brandon Booth said officials at the Wyoming State Hospital in Evanston expressed concerns about Wallace remaining competent if he were to stay in the jail. He requested that Wallace stay at the state hospital during his evaluation for his not guilty by reason of mental illness plea.

According to court documents:

Laramie County Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to the 1100 block of Green Mountain Road, northwest of Cheyenne, for a possible weapons assault at 7:30 a.m. May 10, 2019.

A man called to report his brother, James Wallace, was “high on meth and freaking out, said he hit his mother with a hammer.” When deputies arrived on scene, they discovered Carol Wallace’s body face down in the basement.

During an autopsy, pathologists said Carol Wallace suffered blunt force trauma to the head and chest, a gunshot wound to the head and a cutting wound on the chest. Pathologists also identified what they believed to be several defensible wounds on one of Carol Wallace’s hands, caused by a sharp object.

After being taken into custody, detectives reported James Wallace was mumbling to himself about “robots and other things.” During his mumbling, he said, “What was I do … thinking? Yo mom, boom,” and began to cry.

James Wallace told detectives he didn’t kill his mother, but later pointed to himself and said, “I’m the one who killed the mother.”