A first-degree murder charge was brought by the Volusia County grand jury on Wednesday against the suspect behind the killing of Daytona Beach police Officer Jayson Raynor.
29-year-old Othal Wallace is facing accusations of hitting Raynor’s head with a gunshot last June 23. The suspect was brought to the hospital and 55 days later, he succumbed to the injuries.
The decision of the grand jury permits the state to take a step forward in looking to punish Wallace with death penalty.
Seventh Circuit Attorney R.J. Larriza said he intended to press first-degree murder against Wallace after Raynor’s death. But as reported by Orlando Sentinel, a Florida law dictates that the charge must be released by a grand jury.
“We will proceed with our solemn mission to hold Officer Jason Raynor’s murderer accountable,” Larriza said through a news release. “Justice equals accountability and justice demands the death penalty.”
According to investigators, the shooting happened when 26-year-old Raynor was responding to a suspicious activity close to an apartment compound in Daytona Beach.
Authorities said the body camera showed how Raynor went to the suspect who was at that time sitting in his vehicle.
The police officer asked Wallace if he resides at the location, to which the suspect said: “What’s going on?”
The suspect was later captured struggling with Raynor. The words “Stop! Stop, man!” were heard from the police and a gunshot sound followed, FOX News reported.
Wallace managed to escape and was targeted in a manhunt. According to a report by FOX 35 Orlando, he was finally located near Atlanta and was arrested.
“There was no waiver at all. The decision was not difficult,” said Larizza. “You all have seen the video. Officer Raynor was doing his job in a very non-aggressive manner. He was doing his best to do his job and at the same time show respect to the individual to the defendant.”