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  • Writer's pictureDonald V. Watkins

Donna Michelle Wallace: Was Her Death a Suicide or Murder?

Updated: 17 minutes ago

By: Donald V. Watkins

Copyrighted and Published on June 26, 2024

Donna Michelle Wallace (left) with her husband Timothy Keith Wallace, circa 2017.



Donna Michelle Wallace died on November 26, 2017.  Her death brought an end to this 36-year-old Alabama woman’s traumatic journey in life. 


Was Donna’s death a suicide or murder?  Was there a police department coverup in Donna's homicide case?


Donna was Repeatedly Raped as a Child


Donna Michelle Wallace was repeatedly raped beginning when she was seven years old.  Donna’s rapist was her stepfather. He also allowed other men who paid him money to rape Donna -- for years.  


Donna’s stepfather went to prison, where he died.  Her mother was arrested but never charged as an accomplice to her rape.


Donna, who suffered psychological and emotional trauma as a child rape victim, began drinking alcohol to escape the pain from her childhood sexual abuse.  She was in and out of foster homes because of her rambunctious behavior. 


The state of Alabama eventually sent Donna to a girl's home in Huntsville, Alabama.  Once there, Donna rekindled her relationship with Wanda Pacino, her mother’s half-sister, and Rachel Bolton, Wanda's daughter.  Donna considered these two relatives to be her closest blood-related family members – the ones who truly loved her.


Donna married several times in her 20s, but none of these marriages worked out. Her first marriage was to Trace Cooper.  Then, she married Bryan Wheelock. Donna’s third marriage was to Mario Vizcaino.  Then, she married Mike Stevens.  Donna’s fifth marriage was to Shawn Sellers. 


It is unclear whether Donna ever legally divorced Shawn Sellers -- a question that becomes critically important on November 26, 2017. This is the date on which Timothy Keith Wallace, Donna’s sixth husband, approved a recommendation by doctors to take Donna off life support following a gunshot wound to her head in their home four days earlier.


Donna’s Eight-Month Marriage to Timothy Keith Wallace


By the time Donna reached her early 30s, she met and fell in love with Timothy Wallace, 51, a veteran police investigator with the Huntsville, Alabama Police Department (HPD).  Wallace holds Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Pyschology.

Timothy Wallace (left), with Donna Michelle Wallace, December 2016.

Unbeknownst to Donna, Wallace had already been entangled in a domestic violence situation that warranted his arrest three years earlier.


On June 9, 2014, Timothy Wallace was arrested at his home on a domestic violence charge.  It is believed that the “victim" in that case was one of Wallace's sons.  Wallace was released from jail on the same day.

Mugshot of Timothy Wallace, courtesy of Huntsville Police Department.

Wallace’s arrest record for domestic violence and the disposition of his case have since been expunged from the state of Alabama’s criminal court case records.


On April 15, 2016, Timothy Wallace’s then-wife, Angela Kaye Wallace, filed for a divorce from him.  She was represented by Huntsville divorce attorney Amy Ann Slayden. 


Timothy Wallace was initially represented in his divorce proceedings by Huntsville attorney Page Ann Banks.  Wallace replaced Banks with Robin Leann White, a former Madison County assistant district attorney who has served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama since September 2018.  For reasons that are not explained in the case, court records in this 2016 divorce case list Ms. White’s Department of Justice email address for contact purposes. The couple was divorced on December 15, 2016.


On March 24, 2017, Donna married Timothy Wallace at the “Marry Me of Tennessee.”  At the time, there appeared to be no record of Donna's divorce from Shawn Sellers, who refused to sign her divorce papers.


Was Donna Physically Abused by Timothy Keith Wallace?


On November 17, 2017, Donna Wallace suffered a severe injury to the back of her head while she was with Wallace in the dining room of the apartment where the couple lived.  Timothy Wallace took Donna to the Emergency Room. 

On November 19, Donna sent a photograph of her head injury to Wanda Pacino.

Donna told Pacino she blacked out, but she did not know what caused her to blackout.  Likewise, Donna did not know what object caused the blunt force trauma to the back of her head. 

When Donna was alone at the hospital, a staff member asked her whether she thought her husband caused this injury.  Donna said she did not think so.


Dr. Mathias Allen, an Emergency Room doctor at Huntsville Hospital, diagnosed the injury as “Hemorrhage subdural traumatic w/o LOC Fx skull, unspecified, closed.”  In other words, Donna had a skull fracture with bleeding on and around her brain.  After Donna was discharged, Timothy Wallace took her home.


At the urging of Wanda Pacino, who is a registered LPN, Donna returned to the hospital on November 19th. Donna was experiencing excruciating pain and the concussion had her vomiting alot.

Based upon a text Donna sent Pacino that day, she still had blood on her brain. However, she was now resting at home. 

In an April 2023 meeting between Wanda Pacino, Rachel Bolton, their private investigator (David Hill), and HPD investigator Jay Johnson (who was assigned to Donna's homicide case), Johnson admitted that he was unaware of the incident involving Donna's traumatic head injury. This admission was strange given the fact that the blunt force trauma to Donna's head occurred only five days prior to the shooting. Furthermore, Donna's "head injury" is specifically mentioned in the first line of the "Narrative" section of the HPD Incident Report.

Johnson's shocking admission occurred after he claimed HPD looked into all of the pertinent facts and circumstances surrounding Donna’s death and noted that he had 25 years of experience as a homicide investigator.


Was Donna Wallace Murdered?


On the morning of November 22, 2017, Timothy Wallace reported that he found Donna in their bedroom with a gunshot on the right side of her head.  The bullet came from Wallace’s registered service gun -- an “Automatic Handgun.”  


Timothy Wallace claimed he slept in another bedroom with his children on the night of November 21, 2017, because the couple had been arguing over Donna's drinking that night.  Wallace told Wanda Pacino he did not hear a gunshot after he left Donna to go to bed for the night.


Wallace told Pacino he was awaken by a call from his boss at 9 a.m. After the call, he went into the bedroom and found Donna with a gunshot wound to her head.

There is no reference in the Incident Report to Timothy Wallace making a 911 call. Such a call would have recorded Wallace's voice, shed light on his demeanor, and captured any emotional distress in his voice at the time.  It appears that Wallace may have called his sergeant back to report the shooting.  After this call, HPD officers came to the scene to investigate the shooting. 

It appears that no outside agency joined HPD at the scene to conduct an independent investigation into this officer-related shooting. At the time of the shooting, Timothy Wallace was well-connected in the HPD, from top to bottom.

Timothy Wallace (center), with Donna Wallace and top HPD officials in 2017.

There is no indication in the Incident Report as to who called an ambulance to the scene and when this call was made. Likewise, there is no indication as to how long a critically wounded Donna remained at the scene before she was taken to the hospital.


HPD Officer Christopher L. Wellman prepared the Incident Report on this shooting incident.  Wellman noted the presence of nine additional HPD officers at the scene.


The HPD investigators and other officers at the scene were friends or colleagues of Timothy Wallace. They retrieved four guns, several notes, a cell phone, and one fired bullet from the scene, which they logged-in as evidence. 


During the investigation, HPD officers treated Timothy Wallace more like a friend and fellow co-worker than a possible suspect in the shooting of Donna Wallace.  Wallace told Wanda Pacino that investigators only asked him the most basic questions about what had happened.


Nothing in the Incident Report indicates that the HPD investigators tested Timothy Wallace’s hands and clothes to determine if he fired the shot that gravely wounded Donna and eventually caused her death.  The Report is also silent on whether investigators tested Donna’s hands and clothes for gunpowder residue.  Furthermore, there is no reference to any kind of blood spatter analysis at the scene.


In one of his conversations with Wanda Pacino, Timothy Wallace admitted that he picked up the gun used in this homicide case after he found Donna in the bedroom.  Wallace claims he placed the gun back where he found it. This unusual action by a trained law enforcement crime scene investigator assured that Wallace’s finger prints were most likely the last ones on the gun that was used to shoot Donna.


The Couple Had Been Arguing Before the Shooting


“Tim states that he and [his] wife were in disagreement about her drinking while she was recovering from a head injury,” said the Incident Report.  The use of Wallace’s first name only in the narrative portion of an official police report is indicative of how close Timothy Wallace was to Officer Wellman. No name is used for the "wife" in that sentence.


The couple had been arguing on the night of November 21st, and Donna left her house to get away from Wallace.  She threatened to go to Birmingham but went to a local bar instead. The couple continued to argue over the phone after Donna left their apartment. 


According to Wanda Pacino, Timothy Wallace and his son Austin went out and found Donna.  Timothy and Donna rode home together, while Austin drove Donna’s car home.  Upon arrival at their apartment, the couple continued to argue. Wallace told Pacino he eventually went into another bedroom where most or all of Wallace's nine children were located and fell asleep.


Donna tried to call Wanda Pacino at 3:34 a.m. on November 22nd, but Pacino was asleep and missed the call.  This indicates that the shooting occurred that morning between 3:34 a.m. and 9:00 a.m., when Timothy Wallace said he woke up and found a gravely wounded Donna in her bedroom. 


There is conflicting evidence as to whether Timothy Wallace heard the gunshot.  In the 2023 meeting between Investigator Jay Johnson and Donna's family members, Johnson said Wallace heard the gunshot. Wallace, however, told Wanda Pacino he did not hear it.  When apprised of this contradictory fact, Investigator Johnson then said one of the children at the apartment must have heard the gunshot.  In any event, no one at the crowded apartment called 911 immediately after hearing the gunshot.

The HPD classified the shooting as an “Attempted Suicide." The investigation was closed on December 1, 2017, after Jay Johnson and his team of investigators determined that Donna's death was a "Suicide."


On November 26, 2017, Timothy Wallace, acting in his capacity as Donna’s lawful husband (a material fact that is in dispute), approved the medical team's recommendation to take Donna Wallace off life support.  With this action, Donna died from the injuries she sustained as a result of the gunshot wound to her head. 


No autopsy was performed on Donna’s body.  Her remains were promptly shipped to Birmingham for organ donation purposes and then returned to Huntsville for cremation.


The So-Called "Suicide Notes"


In the 2023 meeting between Investigator Jay Johnson and Donna’s family members, Johnson said HPD arrived at the “Suicide” classification based upon what he characterized as “suicide notes” that were found at the scene.

After repeated requests for them, the "suicide notes" were eventually provided to Rachel Bolton in April 2024 in response to her attorney's request to the local district attorney and city officials for these records under the Alabama Open Records Act.


The so-called “suicide notes” were addressed to Timothy Wallace and three of his children.  They were also written in two different inks.  Based upon the Incident Report, investigators at the scene did not seize the blue and black ink pens used to write the notes so they could be subjected to fingerprint and DNA testing.


The “suicide note” to Timothy Wallace, which referenced Donna’s “brain injury” and “eternal pain,” said, “At this point honey, I just want to die.”  The entire note appears below.

Nowhere in this note, or in the three notes to Wallace's children, does Donna threaten to take her own life or express a desire to kill herself.  Likewise, Donna did not express a desire for Wallace to execute a "mercy killing" of her.


In fact, immediately after the separate notes to Wallace's children, Donna made an extensive listing of food items for a hearty family Thanksgiving dinner and desserts on November 23rd.  This food listing appears below.

After this notation, Donna prepared a forward-looking, work-related note regarding “The Sale of Devonshire,” the company where she worked. This note contained a breakdown of the bonuses and other tangible benefits flowing to Donna and her team from the expected sale of Devonshire.

Again, there is no indication in the Incident Report as to whether HPD tested these notes for the presence of Timothy Wallace's DNA on them. This testing would have been highly relevant to the investigation, especially with respect to the note about Donna's bonus money from the expected sale of Devonshire.

Has HPD Stonewalled the Family’s Search for the Truth Regarding Donna’s Homicide?


Wanda Pacino and Rachel Bolton have not been able to gain access to the full HPD investigative file in Donna's homicide case, despite their repeated requests for access to the file.

Donna's homicide case has been closed since December 1, 2017.  Since her death, HPD and city's Legal Department have only made the first two pages of its Incident Report and the so-called "suicide notes" available to Donna's family. 


As late as the April 2023 meeting, Investigator Jay Johnson was still referring Donna's family to the city's Legal Department for access to the investigative file even though (a) the statute of limitations for any possible civil wrongful death lawsuit against the city expired four years earlier and (b) Johnson had previously asked the Legal Department to NOT provide any case-related information to Donna's family.


During the 2023 meeting, Investigator Johnson inadvertently referred to Donna’s death as a “murder” before quickly correcting himself after he realized the implications of using the word "murder" in front of family members of the deceased in a homicide case involving a fellow police officer.

There is no public record that Donna Michelle Wallace's homicide case was ever presented to a Madison County grand jury for an independent review of the pertinent facts and circumstances surrounding her death.  Furthermore, Wanda Pacino and Rachel Bolton obviously possess highly pertinent information and documents about Donna's homicide case. Yet, they were never interviewed by Jay Johnson or any other homicide investigator. Likewise, they were never called as witnesses before a Madison County grand jury that was investigating Donna's homicide.

Regardless, Donna's family never stopped fighting for justice in her case. They continue to believe in Alabama's criminal justice system and want a fair, impartial, and independent investigation into Donna's death.


There is no statute of limitations for murder in Alabama. 

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Donald V. Watkins
Donald V. Watkins

If an author can sell between 5,000 to 15,000 copies of a book in one week, that positions him/her to be able to hit the New York Times Bestseller List. In comparison, over 12,000 people viewed Donna’s story in the first seven days of publication. There is much more to this Huntsville police coverup that I will publish in an upcoming article. What happened in Donna's homicide case is unbelievable and despicable.


Donald V. Watkins
Donald V. Watkins

For those of you who did not have a chance to support Donna Michelle Wallace in life, this is your opportunity to support her in death. Call Huntsville, Alabama Mayor Tommy Battle, Jr., at 256-427-5000 and demand a fair, impartial, and independent review of Donna's homicide case. This appears to be a police coverup in progress.


Donald V. Watkins
Donald V. Watkins

This is a textbook example of a police coverup in a homicide case. This kind of coverup activity is NOT taught in the police academy. These skills were learned on the job.


Donald V. Watkins
Donald V. Watkins

This case is a prime example of why independent journalism is critical to the pursuit of justice. At, our news team is "unbought." We go where the evidence takes us. Our loyalty is to the truth.


Donald V. Watkins
Donald V. Watkins

There are more blockbuster developments in this case. Please stay tuned!

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