70-year-old Stockton man arrested in Mountain View cold-case homicide

A 70-year-old Stockton man has been arrested in connection with the shooting death of a man in Mountain View more than 20 years ago, police said.

The victim, 20-year-old Michael Wallace, was standing outside his cell at a work furlough center at 590 East Middlefield Road around 10 p.m. on April 27, 2000, when a single shot went through a glass window near the front of the facility and hit him in the chest, the Mountain View Police Department said in a statement Thursday.

The center, which was torn down in 2011, was a place where convicted criminals could serve their sentences, but they could leave during the day to go to work and take care of personal matters, police said.

The shooting might have been the result of mistaken identity, police said. In the months that followed, detectives learned a work furlough employee, Charles Morris, was upset with another employee who he believed was going to be working the night Wallace was shot. One witness recalled seeing Morris and the employee get into a confrontation prior to the shooting.

The employee was not at the facility on the night of the shooting, but another person was present who was similar in appearance, police said. That person was standing in the lobby of the building while Wallace was standing down an adjacent hallway.

Detectives were unable to develop sufficient evidence to move forward with the investigation, and the case eventually went cold, police said.

In 2019, detectives re-examined the case and the possible suspect, Morris, police said.

“Through the thousands of hours of investigation, detectives obtained additional evidence consistent with Mr. Morris’ involvement in this crime,” police said in the statement.

The case was presented to the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office, which filed homicide charges against Morris.

On Wednesday, detectives arrested Morris at his home in Stockton, police said. He is being held without bail at the Santa Clara County Main Jail in San Jose, according to online jail records.

“I remember this case well – I was a detective at the time and assisted in this investigation,” said Mountain View police Chief Chris Hsiung in the statement. “It is incredible to see the hard work and dedication over so many years bring about some closure to the Wallace family.”

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