Former detective says Wallace never mentioned as suspect in boy's death

Wednesday, September 27th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

TULSA, Okla. (AP) -- Tulsa police did not investigate a recently executed child killer as a possible suspect in the 1989 slaying and dismemberment of teen-age boy, a former detective says.

Charles Folks, now an investigator with the Tulsa County District Attorney's Office, said he has no evidence to show that George Kent Wallace was mentioned as a possible suspect in the death of Justin Wiles.

The information was provided in a hearing Tuesday to defense attorneys for Wayne Henry Garrison, who is accused of killing the 13-year-old.

Folks was the lead detective on the case before his retirement.

He testified that he conferred with other police investigators who also indicated that they have no evidence or reports involving Wallace in the case.

Garrison was charged 11 months ago with the first-degree murder of Wiles, who was seen getting into Garrison's car on June 20, 1989, at an auto body shop operated by the defendant.

Parts of the boy's body were found four days later at Bixhoma Lake, court records show. Garrison maintains he is innocent.

Prosecutors plan to seek the death penalty, and on Tuesday they doubled the number of allegations listed as a basis for that punishment.

Prosecutors initially alleged two "aggravating circumstances"

-- that Garrison has a prior violent felony conviction and that he constitutes a continuing threat to society.

Prosecutor Steve Sewell amended that document to add that Wiles'

murder "was especially heinous, atrocious and cruel, involving mental and/or physical torture," and that the murder was committed for the purpose of avoiding or preventing an arrest or prosecution.

Garrison admitted as a teenager to killing two children in Tulsa in the 1970s.

A jury must find the existence of at least one aggravating circumstance to support imposing the death penalty, but jurors can spare a defendant from that fate even if they find multiple reasons to support it.

Wallace was executed Aug. 10 at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester for the murders of William Von Eric Domer, 15, and Mark Anthony McLaughlin, 14. Wallace beat both victims, shot them and dumped them in a pond in LeFlore County. Domer's body was discovered in February 1987; McLaughlin's was found in November 1990.

Four days after that execution, lawyers for Garrison filed a "motion for discovery of the state's investigation" of Wallace as a possible suspect in the Wiles case.

A police laboratory examiner said that discolored wire at the Wiles crime scene had characteristics similar to wire that police said was linked to the stereo system in Garrison's car.

Lawyers agreed Tuesday that three wire pieces will be provided to the defense so their forensic expert can review them.