A thirty year-old man from Lebanon with a lengthy rap sheet has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder for the deaths of an elderly couple near Bennett Springs State Park.
Johnnie, 82, and Coleen Wilson's, 76, granddaughter's husband went to check on them at 30499 Marigold Lane and found them dead in their home that is tucked far back in the woods and out of sight of any nearby road.
Wilcox home (photo courtesy of KOLR-KSFX)
Their bodies were covered in blankets, gasoline poured on them and lit on fire in an attempt to destroy evidence. The fire quickly burned out, but the person who allegedly started it, Jesse Dean Driskill, stole the couples Chevy Trailblazer and fled the scene.
Driskill has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of armed criminal action and two counts of burglary.
According to the probable cause statement, the stolen vehicle was found engulfed in flames just over the county line in Dallas County. A "witness" told authorities that Driskill called and asked to be picked up not far from where the burning car was discovered. On the ride back, Driskill allegedly told the witness that the Wilson's had caught him attempting to steal property outside their home. He told the witness that he forced the couple back inside their home at gunpoint, raped Mrs. Wilson, then shot each of them in the head.
Authorities recovered bloody clothing inside a trash bag at a residence in Lebanon where Driskill had been staying. A woman living in the home identified it as belonging to Driskill.
Shortly after being taken into custody and read his rights, Driskill asked for an attorney.
Driskill was nearly taken into custody on a probation violation about midnight Sunday after he was spotted by a deputy near the state park. Driskill escaped into the woods and slipped away from deputies and a K-9 unit brought to the scene. The woman who was with him told deputies he was armed with a handgun.
The last place he was spotted is less than two miles from the Wilson's home. Sometime during that night, the couple, who were in the process of moving, were murdered.
On Sunday the couple celebrated their 59th wedding anniversary.
According to online court records Driskill has felony convictions in Laclede, Hickory and Dallas counties. His latest release from prison was just seven weeks ago.
Driskill should have been in prison when he allegedly killed the Wilson's. He has pleaded guilty to all of the cases filed against him according to case net.
- second-degree burglary in 1999--Driskill was placed on 5 years of probation, which was later revoked, and served the entire sentence in prison
- trespassing in 1999--$75 fine
- second-degree assault in 2002--again, he served the entire sentence in prison
- domestic assault in 2007--placed on 2 years of probation, which was later revoked. He served 1-year in county jail
- second-degree assault in 2008 5 years of probation and ordered to long-term drug treatment program
- tampering with physical evidence in a felony in 2008--sentenced to 2-years in prison
- two counts of second-degree burglary in 2009--sentenced to two 4-year prison sentences and again ordered into long-term drug treatment.
The Missouri State Highway Patrol, Dallas County Sheriff's Office and the state Fire Marshal's office assisted in the investigation.
Driskill has pleaded not guilty to the murder charges. His public defender, Barbara Urick, has filed a brief Tuesday invoking her client’s right against self incrimination and his right to counsel.
His next scheduled court date is August 16th.
UPDATE~~Funeral Services Announced For Johnnie and Coleen Wilson:
Funeral services for Johnnie and Coleen Wilson, the couple who were murdered in their Laclede County home on Monday, will be held at 2 p.m. Monday, Aug. 2, 2010, at the Klingner-Cope Family Funeral Home at 1635 N. Benton Ave. in Springfield.
Visitation will be from 4 to 6 p.m. Saturday in the funeral home. Burial will be in Eastlawn Cemetery in Springfield.
A celebration of life service will be held at 6 p.m. Monday, Aug. 2, 2010, at the Bennett Spring Church of God.
Online condolences may be made at www.klingnerfuneralhome.com
UPDATE August 2013:
Driskill was found guilty of double murder, forcible rape, forcible sodomy, burglary and five counts of armed criminal action. He will be sentenced in November.
Laclede County Circuit Presiding Judge Kenneth Hayden has sentenced Jesse Dean Driskill to death for the July 2010 murders of Johnnie and Colleen Wilson in Lebanon, Missouri. On August 21, 2013, jurors returned guilty verdicts on two counts of first degree murder, one count each of burglary, forcible rape and sodomy, and five counts of armed criminal action. Two days later, jurors recommended Driskill receive death sentences for each of the two first degree murder convictions.
Judge Hayden today sentenced Driskill to death for each murder conviction and seven consecutive sentences of life in prison for forcible rape, forcible sodomy, and each of the five armed criminal action counts, plus fifteen years for burglary in the first degree.
The Attorney General’s Office, including Koster and Assistant Attorney General Kevin Zoellner, assisted Laclede County Prosecutor Jon Morris throughout the capital murder trial.
In the pre-dawn hours of July 26, 2010, the day after their 59th wedding anniversary, the Wilsons encountered Driskill as he attempted to burglarize their remote home on Marigold Drive, just north of Bennett Spring State Park. He forced the couple back inside their house at gunpoint where he shot and suffocated 82-year-old Johnnie Wilson, and raped and shot to death 76-year-old Coleen Wilson. Evidence suggested that Driskill attempted to burn their bodies in an unsuccessful effort to conceal the evidence of his crimes.
“This was a brutal and heartbreaking crime,” said Koster. “While today’s sentences cannot bring Johnnie and Colleen Wilson back, it affirms our belief in justice under the law. It is my hope that today’s sentence brings some measure of closure for the Wilson family as well as the Springfield and Lebanon communities, where Johnnie and Coleen touched so many lives in a positive way.”