Wilcox indicted on 7 counts

Published 12:27 pm Thursday, June 18, 2009

He is accused of causing the death of his estranged wife. For that, Tom Wilcox could pay with his own life.

A Lawrence County Grand Jury Thursday returned a seven-count indictment against Tom Wilcox, the Ironton man accused of assaulting and then setting his wife on fire.

The indictment includes three different aggravated murder charges. All three include specifications that state the aggravated murder occurred along with other crimes.

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However, each aggravated murder charge is based on different theories. The first aggravated murder charge alleges the act was premeditated. The second alleges the murder occurred as a result of the arson; the third alleges the murder as a result of the robbery. He is also charged with aggravated burglary, aggravated arson, domestic violence and, because his 11-year-old daughter was in the home when he allegedly set the fire, he is also charged with child endangerment.

Each of the aggravated murder charges allow for the possibility of the death penalty. Whether he gets the death penalty or a life in prison sentence would be decided by a Lawrence County Common Pleas Jury if he is found guilty of the aggravated murder.

Wilcox was arraigned Thursday in Lawrence County Common Pleas Court just hours after the grand jury returned that indictment.

Because this is a capital case and because he is deemed indigent, Wilcox is entitled by law to have two attorneys appointed to represent him. Judge Charles Cooper appointed William Eachus and his partner Jeff Finley, of Jackson to represent him. Eachus was one of two attorneys who represented Roger Marshall, the last Lawrence Countian to face the death penalty (though he was in the end sentenced to life in prison).

Both Eachus and Finley are death-penalty certified.

Eachus attended the arraignment along with Ironton attorney Mike Gleichauf, who was appointed to represent Wilcox during an appearance last week in Lawrence County Municipal Court.

Wilcox sat between the two attorneys for the most part with his head down. He spoke only when asked a question. He made no comment as he was brought into court or when he left. His arrival, departure and the arraignment took place under heavy security.

At the request of his attorneys, photographers were told not to take pictures of Wilcox above the neck in the courtroom.

Wilcox is being held in the Scioto County Jail because of his injuries.

Scioto County has a larger facility with a medical unit. As an inmate, Wilcox is entitled by law to have medical care for his injuries, regardless of how he sustained them. If he does not have insurance, the bill is paid by the Lawrence County taxpayer, another entitlement specified by Ohio law.

Cooper allowed a $10 million bond ordered by Municipal Judge Donald Capper to remain and set a pretrial conference for July 1.

Meanwhile, Tom Wilcox’s alleged victim, Amy Wilcox, is being remembered today at a funeral at Dawson-Bryant High School. She will be laid to rest in Woodland Cemetery. The couple’s two children are in the care of her family.

Tom Wilcox is accused of going to his estranged wife’s home and assaulting her, then setting her on fire in late April. She was first taken to Cabell Huntington Hospital in Huntington, W.Va., and then to University Hospital in Cincinnati, where she died June 12.

Tom Wilcox also sustained injuries in the fire. He was released from a Louisville Hospital earlier this month and brought back to this area to face the charges against him.