BLOOMINGTON — Maurice Wallace was sentenced to life in prison Friday after he pleaded guilty to murdering an Illinois State University student last year.
Wallace, in a move that surprised prosecutors and went against the wishes of his attorneys, pleaded guilty to all the charges against him Friday during a hearing in McLean County Circuit Court.
Judge Scott Drazewski sentenced him to life in prison for the murder of 21-year-old Illinois State University student Olamide Adeyooye.
Wallace also will have to serve a 50-year consecutive sentence for attacking a correctional officer at the county jail May 28 as he awaited trial in the Adeyooye slaying.
Prosecutors had said the 27-year-old man wanted to kill someone so he could become a martyr and have his name in the news, but he gave no clear indication why he suddenly pleaded guilty to the charges.
Wallace shook his head as Drazewski told him he had the right to be tried by a jury of 12 citizens. He said any trial essentially would be a “circus.”
Attorneys initially thought Wallace would plead guilty just to the attempted murder of correctional officer Olivia Anglin during Friday’s hearing.
Wallace was in the process of doing that when his erratic courtroom antics led Drazewski to remove him from the courtroom after he referred to the judge as “Scott.” He had been removed from the courtroom in previous hearings because of misbehavior.
The hearing then was delayed for more than an hour while the judge, prosecutors and Wallace’s defense attorneys met privately in chambers.
When the hearing resumed, Wallace said he wanted to plead guilty to all the charges against him in four separate criminal cases.
Assistant Public Defender Brian McEldowney said he tried to persuade Wallace against pleading guilty, but that his client wouldn’t take his advice.
“There were plea negotiations taking place that would have resulted in many of these charges being dismissed,” McEldowney said. “But Mr. Wallace wanted to plead guilty to everything, and that’s what took place.”
When asked about Wallace’s motive for pleading, McEldowney said: “I can only assume he wanted to accept responsibility for his actions. I can only assume he wanted to move on and make amends with the victims he harmed and spare them having to go through a trial.”
Anglin, who attended Friday’s hearing, had tears streaming down her face as Wallace answered “yes” when asked if he wanted to plead guilty to seven charges in the jail attack.
First Assistant State’s Attorney Kim Campbell said she was surprised by Wallace’s guilty pleas on all counts. Still, she said she’s confident he would’ve received the same sentence had the cases gone to trial.
Wallace had to be removed from court one last time Friday as Campbell laid out the evidence she would have presented against him at trial in the attack on Anglin and murder of Adeyooye.
“This is nonsense,” Wallace exclaimed as Campbell began detailing his plans for escape at the jail. “This is a circus. I’ve already copped out to natural life plus 50 years. What else do you want? Jesus!”
Prosecutors believe Wallace killed Adeyooye Oct. 13 at her apartment in Normal shortly after she rented movies at a local video store.
Campbell said Wallace’s fingerprint was found in Adeyooye’s apartment, and that a blood trail leading to a parking lot indicates the ISU student likely was dead when she was loaded into her car.
Adeyooye’s burned remains were found eight days after she disappeared from the apartment in a burned down chicken house in rural Mississippi.
Wallace later was arrested in Atlanta, Ga. Campbell said police discovered Adeyooye’s blood on his jeans and several of her personal items, including her car keys, in his possession.
Before his guilty plea had been finalized and before he had been removed from the courtroom Friday, Drazewski asked Wallace if he understood he’d spend the rest of his life in prison.
“Yeah. Can’t wait,” was his reply.