“Insufficient evidence to prove aggravating circumstance”
Apparently James Granvil Wallace’s confessions to the grisly premeditated bludgeoning deaths of his girlfriend Susan Insalaco, her 12-year-old son Gabriel and 16-year-old daughter Anna aren’t “aggravating” enough to warrant the previous death sentences imposed by Pima County Trial Courts.
Yesterday. Arizona’s Supreme Court overturned his death sentences, declaring the acts committed in 1984 were not heinous or depraved enough even though they were “atrocious” and “senseless.” The justices found that Wallace didn’t knowingly inflict more wounds on the family than he thought were necessary to kill them.
Wallace’s sentence is reduced to two consecutive terms of life in prison.
These are the facts: After lying in wait for the children to return from school, he first beat Anna in the head with a baseball bat and rammed the then-broken bat into her neck, down her chest cavity and out her back.
When Gabriel entered the residence, Wallace hit him repeatedly with an 18-inch pipe wrench, until he had “crushed his skull.” A couple of hours later Susan was murdered with the same pipe wrench when she returned from work.
In 2008 the state’s high court threw out the previously imposed death penalty against Wallace for murdering Susan Insalaco.
Here Justice John Pelander writing for the court states: “….evidence does not show beyond a reasonable doubt that Wallace actually or constructively knew that he had delivered one or more fatal blows to Anna or Gabriel before he stopped striking them. We therefore vacate the death sentences imposed on the two convictions relating to Anna and Gabriel’s murders and impose life sentences for each of those convictions.” (Page 20 of the opinion.)
In his confession, Wallace described killing Anna. “I thought she would die with one blow…that’d be it, like in the movies,” he told police. “It ain’t that way. She looked me in the eye, she knew who was killing her. … I wanted to put her out of her misery, man.”
Read the Arizona Supreme Court opinion issued March 27, 2012.