For the past two months, the murder of Lemuel Wallace was another unsolved crime in Baltimore. The blind, mentally disabled man was found shot to death in a bathroom stall in Leakin Park February 5. Now, city police have charged a 32-year-old pastor with the slaying of Mr. Wallace and their account of the crime is a tale of greed and deceit made all the more despicable by the chosen victim, a vulnerable disabled man.
Mr. Wallace lived in a group home in the 4500 block of Maryknoll Road that was affiliated with Arc of Baltimore where the accused, Kevin Jerome Pushia, worked until he resigned in January. The alleged circumstances of the Wallace murder: a contract murder to collect on a series of insurance policies that were fraudulently taken out. Police allege Mr. Pushia convinced Mr. Wallace to name him as a beneficiary on several policies.
When someone tried to collect one for $200,000, the Globe LIfe Insurance Co. made a routine check with police, which tipped investigators off to a possible motive for the crime and their first suspect.