Biloxi man sentenced to life in the beating, strangling death of girlfriend

A Biloxi man will spend his life in prison after a jury found him guilty of beating and strangling his girlfriend to death in 2019.

Judge Christopher Schmidt sentenced Gary Wayne Wallace, 40, to life on Thursday. The jury deliberated just 2 ½ hours after a three-day trial before reaching a guilty verdict.

District Attorney Crosby Parker said in a press release that Wallace and the victim, Penny Clark, had dated for six months and lived together. On May 20, 2019,  Wallace called 911 saying his “old lady was dead.”

When Biloxi Police arrived, officers found the 45-year-old woman unconscious on the floor of the bedroom, bleeding from her nose, mouth and ears. First responders with AMR started CPR but Clark was pronounced dead at Merit Health a short time later.

Wallace told officers on the scene he found Clark dead when he arrived at the apartment, but said he waited an hour before calling 911. Parker said there were no signs of forced entry. During trial, Clark’s sister said Clark and Wallace were alone together at 9:15. The 911 call came in at 11:43 p.m.

“This murder was especially heinous because the beating would have taken place over a significant amount of time,” said Alison Baker, who prosecuted the case.

“The last thing Penny Clark saw as she was beaten and strangled to death was the face of her boyfriend. Domestic violence touches all areas our community.”

After the jury returned the guilty verdict, Wallace addressed the court and said, “That day I donated plasma, got intoxicated, and everything else. I can’t recall doing it to be honest.”

Prior to sentencing, Schmidt told Wallace “those were all decisions you made before you took her life.”

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