Ohio Supreme Court considers appeal from convicted Youngstown murderer

The court heard oral arguments Wednesday in the case of Willie Wilks, Jr.

Ohio Supreme Court

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WKBN) – The Ohio Supreme Court is considering the appeal of a convicted Youngstown murderer who is on death row.

The court heard oral arguments Wednesday in the case of Willie Wilks, Jr.

Wilks was convicted of a May 2013 murder and attempted murder of two people in Youngstown. The trial court sentenced Wilks to death in May 2014.

Investigators said he shot a man — Alexander Morales, Jr., who was holding a baby at the time. He then shot a woman — Ororo Wilkins — in the head, killing her.

William Wilkins, Jr. also told police that Wilks — who was dating his mother — also shot at him, hitting the house.

Investigators said the shooting was due to an earlier dispute over a loan.

Wilks argues that the evidence wasn’t sufficient for a jury to find the elements of the crimes beyond a reasonable doubt. He also said the conviction was contrary to the weight of the evidence.

He says the murder weapon was never found, and there was no forensic evidence linking him to the crimes. He also questioned why police didn’t interview the others named as being in the car with him.

Prosecutors argued, however, that a conviction doesn’t require either evidence of a motive or physical evidence, and eyewitness testimony alone is sufficient.

Both William Wilkins and Morales named Wilks in court as the person who shot Ororo Wilkins and Morales.

The Supreme Court now has to determine whether the jury had “substantial evidence to reasonably conclude that all elements were proven beyond a reasonable doubt.”


WKBN 27 First News provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. No links will be permitted. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s