Crime & Courts

Homeless man’s recovery uncertain after brick attack

Donald Ray Wallace Jr.
Donald Ray Wallace Jr. Gaston County Jail

A judge set a $500,000 bond Tuesday for Donald Ray Wallace, a Gastonia teen charged with attempted first-degree murder charge in the beating a 78-year-old homeless man with a brick earlier this month.

Speaking over Wallace’s mother’s protests, Gaston County District Court Judge Richard Abernethy said he would consider revisiting the bond if Fletcher Harold Campbell recovers enough that 19-year-old Wallace is no longer “on the verge of (being charged with) first-degree murder.”

Before setting bond, Abernethy asked for an update on Campbell’s condition. The judge was told Campbell is still on a ventilator with “significant broken bones in his face” and his doctor is “concerned about his ability to regain independent functioning.”

Campbell was listed in serious condition Tuesday at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte. Police have said he was taken there for facial surgery.

Wallace’s first appearance took place by video, with his mother and aunt in the courtroom. Wallace’s mother said Wallace takes medication, although she did not specify its purpose.

“Sir, please, my son is really not responsible for what he did,” Wallace’s mother said. “He has problems, for real.”

Police said Wallace is accused of hitting Campbell in the face with a brick after pushing him down. The attack took place late July 6 in the 1500 block of West Garrison Boulevard in Gastonia.

Wallace was found guilty of two misdemeanors – attempted breaking and entering, and resisting a public officer – in 2014. He was charged on July 5 with shoplifting and injury to personal property. Those charges are pending.

Wester: 704-358-5169