Local News

Witnesses recount alleged details of Wendell woman's death

Posted July 1, 2008 10:42 a.m. EDT
Updated July 2, 2008 10:01 a.m. EDT

— Two defendants charged in connection with the death of a Wendell woman more than a year ago testified Tuesday that they feared for their lives when they helped clean up the crime scene.

Jamie Russell Holder said that Jakiem Lance Wilson "would kill him, too" if he did not help cover up evidence in the stabbing death of Wilson's wife, Nneka Wilson, 24.

Holder also testified that he and Roderick Ryan Howell – both charged with accessory after the fact to murder – helped Wilson trash his house to make it appear as if Nneka Wilson was the victim of a gang killing.

She was found inside her 6637 Eagles Crossing Drive home on Tuesday Feb. 13, 2007. and had been dead for up to 16 hours before her husband called 911, authorities said.

Both witnesses said Wilson said he killed his wife while she was getting out of the shower.

He initially told investigators he was in Selma when his wife was killed and that he found her on the kitchen floor along with a threatening message scrawled in blood.

Holder testified he was the one who wrote that message, which suggested Jakiem Wilson would be killed next.

Holder said Wilson also told him prior to the killing that Nneka Wilson "was getting on his nerves" and that he was thinking about killing her because she was "nagging" him about a Myspace page and if he as chatting online with women.

Tuesday marked the second day of Wilson's capital murder trial and included graphic testimony from both Holder and Howell – some that prompted the victims' parents to leave the courtroom.

Nneka Wilson's mother, Claudette Sutton Hill, broke down during Holder's testimony Tuesday morning; her stepfather, James Hill, had to be restrained later in the day when Howell demonstrated how, he said, Wilson tried to cut off her neck.

Howell also testified that Wilson had called him on Feb. 12, asking if he would kill Nneka Wilson. He said Wilson called him back a short time later, and that's when he said he heard Nneka Wilson's last grasps of life on the other end of the phone.

"He told me to 'listen to this,' and I heard gasping," Howell said. Then, he recalled Wilson saying, 'It's done. It's done."

An autopsy found that Nneka Wilson died from multiple stab wounds to her jugular vein, lung and heart, and it noted she had defensive wounds on her forearms.

Holder said earlier Tuesday that Wilson acted as though "he didn't care" and at one point stepped on his dead wife's back and called her a derogatory term.

During cross-examination, Wilson's attorney, Amos Tyndall, said Holder's story has repeatedly changed and that he has stated before that he would do "whatever he could to get out of jail."

Last month, Wilson claimed responsibility for his wife's death but said it did not constitute first-degree murder.

Defense attorneys on Monday asked that Wilson's statements to investigators be suppressed, but Superior Court Judge Henry Hight denied the motion.

Hight, however, did throw out evidence –including two hatchets, a sword and a bow and arrow – seized with a search warrant that lacked probable cause. The warrant's affidavit, he ruled, contained no facts that a crime had been committed.