SENTENCING HEARING 5/30

Hed: Wilson to receive sentence today

Read-In: Confessed killer may testify

By Leesha Faulkner

Daily Journal

TUPELO – William Wilson likely will find out today if he’ll die by lethal injection.

The second day of his sentencing hearing in Circuit Court of Lee County for the 2005 capital murder and felony child abuse of 2-year-old Mallory Conerly is set for today.

Wilson’s defense attorney Will Bristow is expected to place several people on the witness stand to talk about mitigating circumstances that would persuade Circuit Judge Thomas Gardner not to give Wilson the death penalty. Bristow told the court late Monday that he is unsure if Wilson will testify today.

Wilson pleaded guilty last week to the indictment.

The district attorney’s office, led by John Young, seeks the death penalty for the capital murder. Wilson could receive life in prison without parole. He could receive at least 20 years in prison for the felony child abuse.

On Monday several law enforcement officers testified that Wilson first told them a motorcycle fell on the toddler, causing her death. Wilson told Deputy Robby Gwin that the motorcycle fell on the child’s head around 10:30 p.m. April 28, 2005, but she appeared to be all right.

He and the child’s mother, Tina, slept in the living room with the child on the floor. Wilson said in the statement that he attempted to wake the child the following morning, but she wouldn’t stir. He called for an ambulance.

That story about the motorcycle proved untrue.

Wilson gave a taped statement later on April 29,2005, to Lee County Sheriff Jim Johnson, who testified Monday. Johnson held the tape recorder to a microphone. Wilson’s voice sounded shaky as he described beating the child about the head three times and dropping her headfirst onto the kitchen floor to get her to stop crying.

“I’m sorry,” Wilson said on the tape after confessing to burning her feet in a tub and clipping off the skin, then beating the child to death. “I have a temper problem I might need help with. I never meant for none of it to happen. Sometimes you so something without thinking about it consciously.”

The child moaned and cried a portion of the night, saying “Mommy,” and “Ow,” Wilson’s voice recalled on the tape.

Contact Daily Journal county-courts reporter Leesha Faulkner at 678-1590 or leesha.faulkner@djournal.com. Read her blog at leeshafaulkner@wordpress.com.