Shooter feared robbery

Posted: Tuesday, August 10, 2004

A Homer man apparently was drunk Saturday night when he allegedly put a bullet through the left eye of a man he barely knew on a road outside of Homer.

Leonard M. Wallace, 48, woke up Sunday to face the sobering reality of his arraignment on first-degree murder charges.

An autopsy performed at the Alaska Medical Examiner's office in Anchorage determined that 29-year-old Mephiboseth Wilkinson died from one shot from a .22-caliber derringer, according to Alaska State Trooper spokesperson Greg Wilkinson in Anchorage.

Wallace was arrested, confined in Homer Jail and arraigned Sunday at Homer District Court, where he was formally charged with one count of murder in the first degree, driving while under the influence of alcohol and misconduct involving a weapon in the fourth degree. Magistrate David Landry set bail at $500,000.

A preliminary hearing before Judge Francis Neville is scheduled for Aug. 18 at 4 p.m. Wallace was taken to the Wildwood Pretrial Facility in Kenai.

According to the affidavit filed by investigator Dane Gilmore on Sunday, the Homer Police Department dispatch received a report about 7:45 p.m. Saturday night that a man, later identified as Wallace, had gone to an East Hill area home and told its occupant he'd just shot someone.

Arriving shortly thereafter, troopers, Homer police and Homer Emergency Medical Service personnel found Mephiboseth Wilkinson lying on the ground next to Wallace's truck in the parking lot of the Carl Wynn Nature Center, with an apparent gunshot wound.

Wilkinson was taken to South Peninsula Hospital where he was pronounced dead around 11:30 p.m.

According to Gilmore, in a subsequent interview, Wallace told Gilmore he had been drinking with Wilkinson, who he had just met earlier that day, and was giving Wilkinson a ride to see a friend of Wilkinson's near the center.

Wallace told Gilmore he began to suspect Wilkinson might rob him, and that he pulled his .22-caliber pistol from a seat pocket and shot Wilkinson. The investigation showed the gun appeared to have been fired three times. Police located the gun in the cab of Wallace's truck.

"Wallace stated that Wilkinson never brandished or threatened him with any weapon, did not assault or attack him and did not threaten him in any way," Gilmore wrote in his report.

Wallace had no injuries, but displayed signs of intoxication. The incident did not appear to have been accidental, Gilmore said.

"He meant to do it," Gilmore said Sunday.

In an interview Monday, Gilmore said there was no great physical difference in the sizes of the two men.

According to Alaska Court System records available online, Wallace apparently has a record, including incidents involving alcohol. Since 1991, he has pleaded no contest to DUI twice, been found guilty of reckless driving once, pleaded no contest to a charge of harassment, and no contest to a charge of violating conditions set by a court.

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