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William Matthew Wilson - Mississippi
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Thread: William Matthew Wilson - Mississippi

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2010

    William Matthew Wilson - Mississippi

    Summary of Offense:

    Was sentenced to death in 2007 for the killing of two-year-old Mallory Conlee.

  2. #2
    Administrator Heidi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Miss. death row inmate asks court for new trial

    A Mississippi prisoner who was sentenced to death after pleading guilty in the 2005 slaying of a 2-year-old girl is asking for a new trial, saying that a trial judge's failure to dismiss his lawyers barred a plea deal that might have spared his life.

    The state Supreme Court will take a look at death row inmate William Wilson's post-conviction petition, which is among dozens of cases before the court during its September-October term.

    Inmates use a post-conviction petition to argue they have found new evidence — or a possible constitutional issue — that could persuade a court to order a new trial.

    Wilson pleaded guilty in the death of Mallory Conlee and was sentenced to death in 2007 in Lee County. He also received 20 years for felonious child abuse.

    At the time of the girl's death, authorities said they had received a report that a motorcycle fell on the child's head. An autopsy showed bruises all over her body and third-degree burns to her feet.

    Authorities said the bruises were in several stages of healing, indicating they had occurred over a time.

    Court records show Wilson agreed to plead guilty in March 2007 in exchange for a sentence of life without parole.

    However, when questioned by Circuit Judge Thomas J. Gardner III, Wilson said he thought his attorneys could have done a better job. Wilson claimed he hadn't communicated or seen much of his court-appointed attorneys between his arrest and his plea hearing.

    Gardner halted the hearing.

    According to the court record, prosecutors withdrew the plea deal and the case continued with Wilson and the same attorneys. Wilson again pleaded guilty and, with no plea bargain, Gardner sentenced Wilson to death.

    In an earlier appeal, Wilson argued that allowing the case to go on with the same defense team led to the death sentence when prosecutors declined to reach another plea deal.

    Wilson's petition for a new trial was rejected by a Lee County judge in 2009, and the Mississippi Supreme Court in 2009 upheld Wilson's capital murder conviction and death sentence. The U.S. Supreme Court denied a petition to review Wilson's case in 2010.

    Prosecutors contended Wilson's lawyers worked with the prosecution on the plea agreement and Wilson's exchange with the judge showed they had explained it fully to him. They said the ineffectiveness issue only came up when the judge asked Wilson if he was satisfied with what had been done for him.

    Among other cases, the Mississippi Supreme Court will hear:

    — Brian Holliman's appeal of his murder conviction in Lowndes County in the death of his wife. Holliman, of Caledonia, was sentenced to life in prison in 2009. Prosecutors said the body of Laura-Lee Godfrey Holliman was found in the bedroom of the Holliman residence on Oct. 25, 2008. She died from a shotgun wound. Prosecutors said Holliman was enraged that his wife wanted to leave him. The defense argued Laura Holliman was suicidal and the 12-gauge shotgun went off accidentally as the couple argued.

    — Deric Bailey's appeal of his conviction in the shooting death of 16-year-old Brandon High School football player Ryan Evans. Bailey was sentenced to life in prison in Hinds County in 2009. He was found guilty of shooting Evans in 2001 at a Jackson convenience store.

    The defense contended Evans, who was white, acted irresponsibly by coming from Brandon to a high-crime area in Jackson to buy cigars. Bailey is black. Prosecutors said Evans was getting the best of Bailey in a fight and Bailey didn't want to be shown up in front of his friends.


  3. #3
    Administrator Heidi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Death row inmate wins right to pursue post-conviction claim in Lee County

    The Mississippi Supreme Court will allow a death row inmate to go back to Lee County Circuit Court to argue his lawyers failed to do a good job at his trial.

    William Wilson cited six issues in a post-conviction petition filed with the Supreme Court. On Thursday, the Supreme Court said Wilson could present evidence that his attorneys didn't do a good job and that he didn't understand what he was doing when he agreed to let the judge decide his punishment at trial rather than a jury.

    Wilson pleaded guilty in the death of 2-year-old Mallory Conlee and was sentenced to death in 2007 in Lee County. He also received 20 years for felonious child abuse.


  4. #4
    Administrator Helen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Death penalty vacated in 2005 capital murder case

    By William Moore
    Daily Journal

    TUPELO – A Mooreville man has spent the last two months in the Lee County Jail, waiting to see if he will return to the death row at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman, his home for the past decade.

    William Matthew Wilson, 37, pleaded guilty to capital murder in the death of his girlfriend’s 2-year-old daughter and was sentenced to death in May 2007 by Circuit Court Judge Thomas Gardner.

    In December 2017, special appointed judge Larry Roberts granted Wilson’s petition for post-conviction relief in Lee County Circuit Court and threw out the death sentence, citing ineffective counsel. The guilty plea and conviction stand.

    District Attorney John Weddle is now trying to decide whether to present the case to a jury to reconsider the death penalty. Without a new sentencing hearing, Wilson will be sentenced by default to life without parole.

    “We expect to make a decision in the next week or so,” Weddle said. “We wouldn’t have to try the case again, since he pleaded. But we would have to collect a lot of information and present it to a jury before they could make a decision.”

    Wilson was brought to Lee County two months ago when the case returned to circuit court. He will remain in the county jail until the case is settled.

    One thing the DA has to consider is whether or not the special judge would preside over a new sentencing hearing. Since the PCR petition alleged ineffective counsel by local attorneys, the local judges recused themselves.

    Wilson admitted to authorities that Malorie Conlee, 2, would not stop crying on the night of April 28, 2005. He punched the child in the head with his fist three times. Even though the child was unresponsive and “didn’t look right,” Wilson did not seek medical attention for the child for more than 8 hours.

    The guilty plea and death sentence were upheld by the state supreme court on direct appeal in 2009.

    In his PCR petition in circuit court, Wilson argued that his public defenders William Bristow and James P. Johnstone rarely talked with him about his case.

    “Trial counsel failed to visit or otherwise properly communicate with Mr. Wilson ion any significant manner during the approximately 18 months leading up to his first attempt to plead guilty to the charge of capital murder,” Judge Roberts wrote in his December 2017 judgement.

    The judge said the attorneys also failed to prepare for the penalty phase and had no experts to testify as to mitigating factors to keep Wilson from being sentenced to death.

    “Most telling, however, is the trial counsel’s failure to have researched the sentencing history of Judge Gardner in similar situations where a jury had been waived in the penalty phase of a capital case,” Roberts wrote.

    Gardner presided over two similar cases and sentenced both to death. One of Wilson’s attorneys was on the legal team of one of the previous cases but never explained Gardner’s history to Wilson.

    "I realize this may sound harsh, but as a father and former lawman, I really don't care if it's by lethal injection, by the electric chair, firing squad, hanging, the guillotine or being fed to the lions."
    - Oklahoma Rep. Mike Christian

    “There are some people who just do not deserve to live,”
    - Rev. Richard Hawke

    “Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence"
    - Edgar Allan Poe

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