After a bench trial, an Oregon judge found Dustin Michael Wallace, 17, guilty of raping and murdering 5-year-old Sahara Dwight in 2010. Wallace, an Oklahoma native, waived his right to a jury trial and admitted to attacking Dwight. He said he didn’t mean for her to die. According to medical reports, Dwight died from asphyxiation caused by strangulation or pressure on the chest.
On the night of Dwight’s murder, Wallace was visiting his father, who lived with the girl’s mother. According to his confession, Wallace tried to molest the girl in her sleep. When she woke up, he put his body weight on her to hold her down and raped her. After he was done, he noticed the child wasn’t breathing or moving. Her mother discovered her early the next morning.
Wallace’s defense attorney, Laura Anne Fine, said during the trial that Wallace suffered from Asperger’s syndrome and ADHD. He had forgotten to bring his medication on the trip, said Fine, which brought about mood swings and impulsiveness.
Following the guilty verdict, Judge Randolph Garrison ordered a pre-sentencing investigation to look into the medications Wallace was prescribed and was taking on the night of Dwight’s death. Because Wallace is 17, he won’t face the death penalty. Though no sentencing date has yet been set, Wallace will likely spend the rest of his life in prison. He may be granted a shot at parole after 3o years depending on the outcome of the investigation.