|Verdict: Guilty: Wilson sentenced to 60 years in prison|
|Faith Huffman | News-Telegram News Editor|
April 9, 2004 -- A Hopkins County jury sentenced Jimmy Dee Wilson to serve 60 years in prison for murdering his girlfriend's husband, Dalton Eugene "Butch" Monday Jr. The jury deliberated for just under an hour Thursday afternoon before returning their decision, which included a $10,000 fine.
"We believe in the jury system. They really paid close attention and took their job seriously," William Howard McDowell, co-defense counsel with John Ginn, said of the sentence.
"It's a powerful statement from the jury, I thought, about what happens when you take a life in Hopkins County," Assistant District Attorney Martin Braddy said. "The punishment clearly shows if a life is taken it means a whole lot, is worth a whole lot. Sixty years is a very strong statement from the jury. ... The jury really worked hard."
Braddy said that he felt the decision showed that the 10-woman, 2-man jury panel based their decisions on the evidence presented during the trial instead of focusing on character flaws divulged about the victim, defendant and witnesses, and other emotional testimony presented which could easily have "clouded their judgment."
Family members of Monday and others addressed Wilson after the verdict was announced Thursday.
A prepared statement by Terry and Butch Monday's daughter, Megan, was read to Wilson by District Attorney Witness Coordinator Amy Culpepper Perkins.
"The actions you took left us kids without a dad," Culpepper read. "Mason will not have his father at his high school graduation nest year. Micah will not have her dad at her first ball game or to walk her down the aisle when she gets married. Molly will never know her papa. You have not only affected my family but yours."
"I want to say first how good a man my dad was," a very emotional Morgan Monday Warren, Monday's oldest daughter, told Wilson as she choked back tears immediately after the sentence was read. " I think my dad would even ask me to tell you thank you for giving him peace and happiness in heaven."
One of the girls' friends also addressed Wilson, noting how Monday's death affected his family. Braddy used the family's emotions in his closing arguments during the sentencing phase of the trial.
"The day these people [Monday's family members] forget about Butch Monday, is the day he [Wilson] should forget," Braddy said. "He deserves to think about him for the rest of his life."
McDowell urged the jury during his closing arguments to refrain from sentencing Wilson to life in prison.
"One man's life has been taken away," he said. "That man's life affected lots of people, just as Mr. Wilson affects lots of people. Don't throw Mr. Wilson's life away. One mistake has been made. Let's not make another one."
Braddy said that his office strongly encourages the families of victims of violent crimes to seek counseling so that they can begin learning to deal with the grieving process and learning how to cope with the impact the crime has had on their lives.
Wilson's legal troubles did not end Thursday. Wilson told the court he would need an attorney appointed to him for the appeals process as he could not afford one. However, it was decided that an indigence hearing would be conducted before Eighth Judicial District Judge Robert Newsom at 8:30 a.m. Monday as the defendant's testimony during the trial presented evidence that his pickup truck may not be the only item of value Wilson owns. He may own a number of horses, which would also have to be considered.