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Friday, January 24, 2014

Life In Prison For Max Wade, From Whom Marin, World Learn No Lessons

Posted By on Fri, Jan 24, 2014 at 11:18 AM

  • Giorgio Cico/Redwood Bark
  • One scary kid
What will happen to Max Wade now? Yesterday -- almost two years after his arrest for trying to kill a former classmate from Marin County's Redwood High in a brazen and bizarre drive-by-shooting in staid Mill Valley -- a Marin County judge sentenced the 19-year old to a life term in prison.

Wade was found guilty in October for the shoot-up, and for driving away in celebrity chef Guy Fieri's Lamborghini (though not for the Hollywood-worthy heist of the $200,000 car in 2011, when Max Wade was 16).

Judge Kelly Simmons went for the maximum because, she said, Wade -- whose plans, more than half-formed, for a jewelry heist in Union Square were revealed on his sentencing day and used to put him away -- is "scary." The detectives who spent months busting him concurred. "I wouldn't want my mom or girlfriend to be walking down the same street as Max Wade," one said, according to his old school's student newspaper.

He will be eligible for parole in his mid-to-late 30s; his attorney expects him to serve no less than 15. Until then, it's San Quentin or Folsom. So what's the takeaway, the lesson?

There probably won't be one.

Plenty has been written about Wade (we're guilty of that), and there's plenty more out there that hasn't been released or revealed. A little bit of it came out yesterday -- like the revelation that he'd planned a takeover-style robbery of a that jewelry store, complete with a rooftop getaway in a helicopter (apparently, he'd already identified the chopper to use). Wade, notably, was not convicted of the Lamborghini heist, which took place in the middle of the night in April 2011, at British Motor Cars on Van Ness Avenue. San Francisco police never got around to cracking that crime -- there was a possible witness, a cleaner at the dealership at the same time, who was never found -- and if Wade had accomplices, like the unknowns who tried to break him out of Juvenile Hall on his last night there before County Jail, we still don't know who they are. How'd he get this way? He is very smart, yes, and, according to his defense attorney, he was very bored and very lonely. He spent a lot of time alone as a teenager while his mother went around the world, living the high life on credit, following a childhood that was full of fights and some violence. He testified in his father's domestic violence trial (a jury hung on whether Michael Wade attacked Leylla Wade), and, according to records and his social worker, got slapped around and on one occasion choked in the name of parental discipline. One common feeling is that Wade is a product of Marin County as much as he is his parents' turmoil. How else could a 16-year old deliver fake IDs in a yellow supercar, be known around the county as well as at San Francisco's Urban High School for it -- and get away everything for as long as he did? Because the behavior was rewarded. Because Max Wade was cool. Until he wasn't, until he was too scary to hang out with, too freaky to get close to, too broken to reach. There's talk of Hollywood even now, of the Max Wade movie. And true to form, production companies are sniffing around the story right now. If it gets made, it will probably be sleek and sexy. In that case, it will be wrong. Wade's story is sad and fucked up, and, by the looks of things, one with absolutely no moral.
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About The Author

Chris Roberts

Chris Roberts has spent most of his adult life working in San Francisco news media, which is to say he's still a teenager in Middle American years. He has covered marijuana, drug policy, and politics for SF Weekly since 2009.


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