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Judge: Life Sentence for 'Mad Max' a Tough Call

Marin County Superior Court Judge Kelly Vieira Simmons acknowledge sympathy for the San Rafael teen she sentenced to life on Thursday, but says Max Wade "deserves it."

Photo credit Huffington Post
Photo credit Huffington Post

By James Lanaras

Bay City News Service

 

Marin County Superior Court Judge Kelly Vieira Simmons said she feels some sympathy for 19-year-old Max Wade and his family, but not enough sympathy to excuse what he did.

Simmons sentenced Wade on Thursday to life in prison with a chance for parole for the attempted shooting murder of his romantic rival, Landon Wahlstrom, then 18, in Mill Valley on April 13, 2012, and to an additional 20 years for discharging a firearm.

He was acquitted of the attempted murder of Eva Dedier, then 17 and the girl of his dreams, who was sitting in Wahlstrom's Dodge truck on Evergreen Avenue when Wade pulled along side it on his motorcycle and fired several shots into the truck.

Neither teen saw their assailant, who was dressed all in black including a helmet with a visor over his face, and neither was struck by the gunfire.

"They are the luckiest people alive," Simmons said before she sentenced Wade.

"He planned it so beautifully, and I hate to use that word," Simmons said of the shooting.

She said the effort Wade put into the attack was "kind of scary."

"It's a shocking case, and I hate to be the judge who sentences him to such a long period of time, but he deserves it," Simmons said.

Defense attorney Charles Dresow asked Simmons to consider Wade's age, he was 17 at the time of the shooting, and the fact that no one was physically hurt.

He said young teens often act irrationally.

"This is not the same scared, lonely, attention-seeking person he was at 16 and 17.

He has matured," Dresow said.

Dresow also told the judge Wade had a difficult childhood with violence in the home and lack of supervision and real schooling.

"He raised himself," Dresow said.

"This is a very, very sad case," Dresow said.

"He did have a somewhat difficult upbringing, but he didn't have it so bad," Simmons said.

Deputy District Attorney Yvette Martinez said Wade has shown Dedier remorse, but not to Wahlstrom.

"The defendant is dangerous and brazen and very nearly killed two people, Martinez said.

"He tried to conceal his identity and very nearly got away with it.

This will have a long-lasting effect on Miss Dedier," Martinez said.

Wade, of San Rafael, also was convicted of stealing celebrity chef Guy Fieri's $200,000, yellow Lamborghini from a British Motors dealership on Van Ness Avenue in San Francisco on March 8, 2011.

He was 16 at the time.

The burglar rappelled from the building's roof to enter the dealership through an open window.

Wade was acquitted of the burglary, but he was convicted of stealing the Lamborghini and possession of stolen property.

Simmons sentenced him to 16 months in prison for the theft.

His total sentence today was 21 years and four months in jail, plus life with the possibility of parole.

The prosecution argued Wade stole the Lamborghini to impress Dedier, and twice picked her up in the sports car.

In her opening statement to the jury in October, Martinez said Wade had the flashy, yellow Lamborghini but he wanted the beautiful blonde girl to go with it.

Once Dedier spurned his advances, Wade wanted revenge, according to the prosecution, and the Lamborghini led to his downfall.

When Marin County sheriff's detectives determined from video at the Cycle Gear shop in San Francisco that Wade matched the description of the shooting suspect, they arranged for Dedier to set up a meeting with Wade, according to trial testimony.

Dedier asked Wade to drive to their meeting in the Lamborghini.

When she cancelled the meeting while Wade was en route, detectives followed the Lamborghini to a storage facility in Richmond where they found Wade's motorcycle, the black clothing and helmet he wore during the shooting and other evidence, according to trial testimony.

Wade was arrested at the storage facility after a struggle with detectives on April 28, 2012.

Martinez told Simmons this afternoon that after Wade was acquitted of the dealership burglary, he admitted burglarizing the San Francisco dealership.

"He wants to be known as a brazen criminal," she said.

Wade was impassive during his sentencing, but he thanked the judge for giving him a fair trial, Dresow said.

"He was very calm and collected. He was prepared for what was going to happen," Dresow said.

"He was a very lonely young man and he is very intelligent, but he had little or no direction. There was attention grabbing behavior, no question," Dresow said.

He said an appeal of the sentence is planned.

Dresow said Wade will be eligible for his first parole hearing in about 18 years.

Martinez said, "The sentence was appropriate and fit the crime."

Wade's mother Leylla M. Wade, did not want to comment after her son was sentenced.

"It's not over," she said.

 

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