Man gets 12 life sentences for 2012 shootout with police

Michael Wallach
Michael Wallach

UPDATE 2:12 p.m.: In what could have been a self-fulfilling prophecy, Michael Wallach last week sat on a witness stand and told a Palm Beach County jury that if he returned to prison again, the only way he would leave is in a coffin.

Circuit Judge Krista Marx officially made that prediction a reality for Wallach Thursday, sentencing him to 10 consecutive life sentences as well as what amounted to an additional two concurrent life sentences for a wild June 2012 crime spree that ended only after he shot at police and a Palm Beach County Sheriff’s helicopter.

Marx had no choice but to sentence Wallach to life on each of eight charges of  attempted murder of a law enforcement officer. But even if she had discretion, she told Wallach, she would have given him the maximum punishment.

“I know your attorneys have worked really hard to convince me that you’re someone capable of redemption, but I don’t see it,” Marx said. “It’s a shame, It’s a waste of life. I wish you luck in the department of corrections, I really do.”

Wallach remained stoic through his sentencing hearing, but his mother left the courtroom with both tears and angry words for the Lake Clarke Shores officers who eventually ended the gun battle with Wallach by shooting him in the arm and thigh on Shawnee Road.

“You buried him. You did it,” she told them on her way out. “You have no idea how painful this is.”

ORIGINAL POST: Michael Wallach, the 28-year-old man a jury convicted of attempted murder last week after they rejected his insanity defense for a 2012 shootout with police, is expected to learn his punishment Thursday afternoon.

Circuit Judge Krista Marx could sentence Wallach to as much as life in prison for the June 2012 incident where he shot at Lake Clarke Shores Police and a Palm Beach Sheriff’s helicopter in a desperate attempt to escape an arrest that would return him to prison.

Wallach testified in his own defense during his trial, saying most of his actions stemmed from trauma he suffered from a prior 21-month prison stint where he was attacked by a group of inmates and watched another inmate slash his  friend’s throat. The prospect of returning to prison for another five years  for an aggravated battery charge he picked up before his first prison term aggravated his Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and rendered him legally insane, Assistant Public Defenders Travis Dunnington and Mattie Fore told jurors.

Assistant State Attorneys Danielle Sherriff and Alex Braunstein, on the other hand, told jurors that picking up new criminal charges by stealing one car, carjacking another woman to take another car, threatening police officers verbally and ultimately putting the officers’ lives in danger was the wrong response for someone who was actually trying to avoid prison.

Wallach is already serving 15 years in prison on an unrelated case.


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