Local News

Wendell man found guilty in wife's stabbing death

Posted July 10, 2008 3:01 p.m. EDT
Updated July 11, 2008 4:56 p.m. EDT

— A Wendell man charged in the death of his wife was found guilty Thursday, after three days of jury deliberation.

Jurors found Jakiem Wilson, 24, guilty of first-degree murder by lying in wait in the Feb. 12, 2007, stabbing death of his wife, Nneka Wilson.

They must now decide whether Wilson should be sentenced to death or life in prison.

Prosecutors presented evidence during the sentencing hearing Thursday afternoon, calling Jamie Russell Holder, charged with accessory after the fact to murder in the case, to testify.

Holder recalled how, he said, Wilson called him and had him listen over the phone as Nneka Wilson gasped for air before she died.

Holder said he listened for eight seconds and could not listen anymore.

Last month, Wilson admitted to being responsible for the crime but said it was not first-degree murder.

Opening statements began June 30, and testimony – sometimes graphic – lasted four days. Holder testified how Wilson said he killed his wife because she was "nagging" him about online chatting with other women.

"We really didn't know exactly what happened," Nneka Wilson's mother, Claudette Hill said Thursday after the verdict. "So, I found out what had happened, and he literally slaughtered my daughter."

Roderick Ryan Howell, also charged with accessory after the fact of murder, also testified last Wilson threatened him if he did not help clean up evidence and trash the house to make it appear as if Nneka Wilson was the victim of a gang killing.

Holder also testified that he wrote a message scrawled in blood across the kitchen floor that suggested Jakiem Wilson would be killed next.

Authorities said Nneka Wilson had been dead for up to 16 hours before Wilson called 911.

"It sounded like something a monster would do," said Nneka Wilson's cousin, Wanda Gilbert-Coker, said.

Earlier in the trial, Superior Court Judge Henry Hight ruled evidence seized from Wilson's home – including two hatchets, a sword, a bow and arrow and blood-stained evidence collected by crime-scene analysts – could not be used in the trial because Wake sheriff's deputies lacked probable cause to search the house after Nneka Wilson's body was found.

More testimony is expected Friday in the trial's sentencing phase.

If jurors decide on the death penalty, Wilson would be the second person in Wake County since a de facto moratorium on executions went into effect last January.

Byron Waring was sentenced to death last July in the November 2005 stabbing death of Lauren Redman.