Nov. 2, 1983 Los Angeles Los Angeles County California, USA
Murder victim. Wallace, 19, was scheduled and brave enough to testify against a murderer who had shot taxi cab driver and ex-World War II Army veteran Kimbrough Foley during an apparent robbery on May 26,1983 in South-Central Los Angeles. Police arrested Grant Christon, 22, and charged him with the murder. A Los Angeles Police Department detective convinced her that the killer was in jail and that many witnesses besides her would testify against him. Wallace was the only eyewitness to the murder of Foley, 54, a resident of Inglewood, California. The crime was committed in an alley at the rear of Vernon Avenue, just east of Vermont Avenue. She saw the murder occur after leaving a dental office where her boyfriend had worked and reported it to the police. A few days before her death, she received a threatening telephone call, warning her not to testify in court or else her home would be bombed. Demetria refused to back down from testifying and doing what she believed was the right and just thing to do. On November 2, 1983, as she waited at a northbound bus stop about 100 yards from her South-Central Los Angeles home for her bus ride to her Administration of Justice classes at Los Angeles City College, she was killed by a shotgun blast fired from a passing car. Without her testimony, prosecutors dropped murder charges against the defendant Nov. 7, 1983 in Los Angeles Superior Court during the preliminary hearing, the same day that Wallace was buried. A reputed drug dealer who allegedly committed violent crimes previously, Grant Christon pleaded guilty and was convicted in October, 1984 for the June 1, 1983 gunshot murder another man, Lamont Norwood, and wounding his brother Travis (attempted murder) at a Vermont Avenue-area pizzaria in Los Angeles. He was sentenced to 27-years-to life in state prison. He was apparently granted parole on May 14,2015 and was released on October 15, 2015 from the California Mens Colony in San Luis Obispo, California after serving 31 years in prison. Kent Christon, 22, the defendant's twin brother, and his alleged accomplice Thomas Jackson, 44, were arrested several days later for Wallace's brutal murder. Both suspects were later released in late November, 1984 for lack of evidence. Those who saw Demetria, affectionately nicknamed "Mechie" by her family, shot down on 48th Street and Vermont Avenue, did not come forward and tell police or testify against her accused alleged murderers in L.A. Superior Court. Those witnesses apparently feared for their own lives. Wallace was born in Flagstaff, Arizona. She was a honor student and volleyball and softball star at Manual Arts High School. She graduated in 1982. Mechie was an avid football, softball and basketball fan and participant. She majored in criminology at Los Angeles City College with the goal of becoming a California Highway Patrol officer. She once taught a young Mexican boy how to read and escorted a robbery victim and her children safely to their home. Mechie was a humanitarian and liked to make friends. Wallace's murder resulted in a major lawsuit (Wallace vs. the City of Los Angeles) in 1989. Her mother, Lula, the plaintiff, with the dilligent efforts of Attorneys Raymond P. Boucher and Bonnie Lane, won a $730,000 settlement in 1994. The case forced the Los Angeles Police Department, in a widely-issued bulletin, to order its officers to warn witnesses of crime of the potential risk to their safety by testifying in criminal cases. On January 1, 1998, this warning officially became state law, passed by the California Legislature.This law has saved others since its passage. She is survived by her parents, Lula and Fred Wallace, five sisters, one brother and several relatives, classmates, friends and her dog, Shady. Three palm trees were planted at the exact spot of her slaying several years ago, possibly by the City of Los Angeles. Perhaps this gesture was done in honored rememberance of Demetria's ultimate sacrifice.
Cause of death: Shotgun blast. A shotgun pellet which entered behind her left ear and penetrated her brain.
Inscription: In Loving Memory "Mechie". Dametria V. Wallace. 1964-1983. "Still in memory you are with us as you always were before."
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Miss Wallace, your gallant efforts for justice is not and will never be forgotten. Your sacrifice at such a young age brings me to tears.It is my hope that your filthy murderers will one day face justice, one way or another. My deepest condolences to your...(Read more) -
Lucie Hill. Added: Apr. 19, 2016
A true heroine. Bless you, Mechie. Rest in peace. -
Lori blue Added: Apr. 19, 2016