Wilcox bond reduction denied by judge

Published 10:31 am Friday, April 30, 2010

The fear of automatically looking guilty prompted an Ironton man accused of murder to ask for a bond reduction Wednesday.

The attorneys for Tom Wilcox asked Lawrence County Common Pleas Judge Charles Cooper to cut Wilcox’s $10 million bond.

“My client is afraid and I have some belief because of the amount of the bond potential jurors would think he is guilty when he must be presumed innocent,” defense co-counsel Charles Knight explained.

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Knight said Wilcox is unable to post any bail so the issue of his being released is not the issue.

He pointed out the bond had been set by Lawrence County Municipal Court Judge Donald Capper when Wilcox was charged with attempted murder and had never been modified since then.

But Paul Scarsella, the Attorney General’s Office attorney who is lead prosecutor, said the issue of juror prejudice is best addressed during jury selection, when each juror will be asked his or her opinions on the case.

“I think voir dire will take care of that,” Scarsella said.

At one point, Wilcox, who has sat quietly during most court appearances, indicated he wanted to discuss the matter.

“I want to say something judge,” Wilcox said. He was directed to allow his lawyers to handle the matter.

In the end, Cooper denied the request.

“I feel like, in the interest of justice and the law, bond should remain as set at this time,” Cooper said.

The next pretrial will be May 26. Jury selection in the Wilcox case is set for June.

Wilcox, 39, of Ironton, is accused of going to the home of his estranged wife, Amy Wilcox, in April 2009, beating her and then setting her on fire. She died at a Cincinnati hospital less than two months later.

If he is convicted of his multi-counta indictment, he could get the death penalty.