Man pleads guilty to shooting, killing De Smet High School football coach in 2017

Published: Sep. 13, 2023 at 3:16 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS (KMOV) -- Almost six years after the death of a beloved assistant football coach, the third person indicted in his murder has pleaded guilty.

Jaz Granderson was killed in St. Louis in October 2017. Shortly thereafter Kurt Wallace, Jherrica Dixon and Floyd Barber were indicted in his murder.

Wednesday, Wallace pleaded guilty to the killing, two other shootings, a total of four carjackings and an escape.

“It’s just sad what he did,” John Stobbs, Wallace’s attorney, said. “He’s sorry for it and he just hopes it brings some closure to the Granderson family and the other victims.”

“I hope it’s some measure of justice for the families of the victims here,” Robert Patrick with the US Attorney’s Office said. “There were two shooting victims, in addition to Jaz Granderson, who drove up to where these guys were and got shot and got their cars stolen so some measure of justice hopefully for them.”

He will be sentenced in December. As part of the plea, both sides have agreed to recommend a sentence of 60 years in federal prison. But the exact sentence will be up to a judge.

“The thing is that a 60 year federal sentence, if he has to serve 85% of it, for someone his age that is effective life,” Stobbs said. “He has hope to get out of prison alive but he’ll be a very old man when he gets out.”

“Families of any crime victim, there may never be enough prison time to give them the feeling of justice but there is some measure of justice here,” Patrick said. “There are guilty pleas. There are very lengthy prison sentences so hopefully it helps.”

Dixon and Barber previously pleaded guilty.

A federal grand jury indicted Wallace in November 2017. He escaped from custody in 2019 from the Lincoln County jail. He led authorities on a brief chase before being apprehended after a pursuit involving multiple police jurisdictions.

Wallace, 30, was one of seven people convicted in a series of violent crimes during the fall of 2017. A St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department and ATF investigation led to the convictions of Wallace, Dixon, Barber, James Flannel, Jerell Henderson, Larenta Jones, and Stephan Jones. Wallace was the last to be convicted for his involvement.

In court Wednesday, a judge also mentioned he had more recently attempted to escape the St. Clair County jail just last month.