De Smet High School football coach killed
ST. LOUIS – A man from St. Louis pleaded guilty Wednesday to four counts of carjacking, two counts of discharging a firearm in furtherance of carjacking, one count of discharging a firearm in furtherance of carjacking resulting in death and one count of escape.
Kurt Wallace, 30, appeared Wednesday before U.S. District Judge Ronnie L. White, who set Wallace’s sentencing for Dec. 12.
According to the plea agreement, on Sept. 16, 2017, Wallace carjacked the driver of a 2005 Chevrolet Monte Carlo in the 300 block of Walsh in St. Louis. During the carjacking, Wallace shot the driver in the shoulder.
On Oct. 15, 2017, Wallace carjacked a Cadillac CTS in the 5800 block of Kennerly in St. Louis. During the carjacking, Wallace shot the driver in the leg.
The next day, Wallace was involved in the armed carjacking of a Jeep Grand Cherokee being driven by Jaz Granderson, a football coach at De Smet Jesuit High School. Wallace fatally shot Granderson during the carjacking.
Wallace was indicted by a federal grand jury in November 2017 and detained in jail pending trial. While in custody, Wallace escaped from jail on July 15, 2019. After escaping, Wallace and fellow inmate James Flannel carjacked a vehicle and led police on a multi-jurisdiction pursuit until Wallace crashed and flipped the vehicle.
As part of the plea, both sides have agreed to recommend a sentence of 60 years in federal prison.
Wednesday’s guilty pleas conclude a joint investigation by the Saint Louis Metropolitan Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives into a series of violent crimes committed by Wallace and others during the fall of 2017. Wallace is the seventh individual convicted in connection with that investigation; the others include Floyd Barber, 28, Jherrica Dixon, 30, James Flannel, 43, Jerell Henderson, 33, Larenta Jones, 30, and Stephan Jones, 33.
Flannel was sentenced in November 2021 to life in prison for the fatal carjacking of Boris Iouioukine, a Laclede Cab Company driver on June 25, 2018. He awaits sentencing on the escape and carjacking.
Dixon pleaded guilty May 22, 2019, to eight felonies: four counts of carjacking, three counts of discharge and brandishing of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence and one count of discharge of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence resulting in death. She admitted setting up a series of meetings with men so that they could be carjacked by her then-boyfriend Wallace and others. On Aug. 14, 2017, Wallace and others carjacked a 2017 Dodge Charger in the 800 block of Gustav Avenue in St. Louis. Dixon also admitted setting up the Sept. 16 and Oct. 15 carjackings and the carjacking of Granderson.
Barber pleaded guilty June 4, 2019 to two counts of carjacking, one count of discharge and brandishing of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence and one count of discharge of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence resulting in death. He admitted the Sept. 9, 2017 carjacking of a Kia Optima in St. Louis and admitted participating in the carjacking of Granderson and the fatal drug robbery of Ladareace Pool, 26, in the 4700 block of Goodfellow Avenue on Oct. 3, 2017.
The sentencing hearings for Dixon and Barber are pending. Dixon faces a mandatory minimum of 27 years in prison for just three of the charges. Both sides have agreed to recommend 30 years in prison for Barber.
U.S. District Judge Henry E. Autrey sentenced Henderson on Aug. 23, 2022 to 42 ½ years in prison for Pool’s robbery and murder. Larenta Jones was sentenced to 30 years in prison and Stephan Jones, the driver the day of Pool’s murder, was sentenced to five years in prison on a drug charge.
“ATF has no higher priority than working with our law enforcement partners to investigate and ultimately, bring to justice those who inflict violence on our communities and in our neighborhoods,” said Bernard Hansen, Special Agent in Charge, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Kansas City Field Division. “As this case so clearly demonstrates, we will continue to use our investigative expertise, and strong partnership with the men and women of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department to ensure that St. Louis is a safer place to live and work.”
The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are investigating this case with assistance provided by the U.S. Marshals Service, the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department, the Troy Police Department, the Saint Ann Police Department and the Saint Louis County Police Department.