by Caitlin Huston
William Wilson said he does not remember abducting a 4-year-old child from her home and sexually assaulting her.
But after three years in the court system, the 25-year-old said he believes the evidence against him and accepts the 36-year prison sentence.
“I deserve to go to prison,” Wilson said. “I committed this crime.”
After an emotional four-hour hearing Monday, Wilson was sentenced to the Indiana Department of Correction for a May 2010 incident in which he sexually assaulted and attempted to strangle a child in a garage in the early morning hours. Wilson pleaded guilty in December 2012 to child molesting, a Class A felony, and criminal confinement, a Class B felony, but the parents of the victim urged the court Monday to take the case to trial.
Before Cass Superior II Judge Rick Maughmer made his final decision on whether or not to take the case to trial, Cass County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Lisa Swaim dismissed four charges: one Class A felony count of child molesting; burglary resulting in bodily injury, a Class A felony; strangulation, a Class D felony; and battery resulting in bodily injury, a Class D felony. He then accepted the plea agreement.
In court, Wilson took the stand and said he had doubled his dose of medication and had several drinks on the night of May 2, 2010, when the incident is said to have occurred.
“I don’t remember anything after a few hours of being at the bar,” Wilson said.
Days later, police and newspaper articles filled Wilson in on the child’s abduction, but he said he was only later able to remember being in the garage.
Frank Krause, a psychiatrist who evaluated Wilson, also testified to the legitimacy of a blackout as a cause of the mixture of medication and alcohol.
“He was a walking, talking, unconscious individual,” Krause said.
Still, Wilson said learning about what he had done after the fact made him feel disgusted with himself.
“It makes me feel like I’m a monster,” Wilson said.
He took time on the stand to speak directly to the family of the victim, saying with a trembling voice he has tried to put himself in their places and feels terrible about the pain he caused.
“Through all of it, I know that I broke all of your hearts,” Wilson said.
Wilson added he had read their statements several times, and wanted to assure them that they couldn’t have prevented it from happening.
“I want you to know that this isn’t your fault,” Wilson said. “This is my fault.”
Wilson also apologized to the community for the fear his actions caused.
“I think about moms and dads with kids, how afraid they must have been to leave their kids alone for just 5 minutes,” Wilson said.
Wilson will serve his sentence as a credit-restricted felon, meaning he’ll receive one day of credit for every six days served. Therefore, he’ll actually be in prison for about 30 years.
He said he believed the sentence was fair, because he’ll spend a large portion of his life in prison and away from the victim’s family.
“They don’t have to worry about me being out there,” Wilson said.
The victim’s parents also initially spoke in favor of the plea agreement, but both took the stand Monday and said they did not believe the sentence matched his crime.
“It’s not enough time,” the mother said.
Swaim left the decision on the agreement to Maughmer’s discretion, saying she had made the agreement in “good faith.”
Wilson’s attorney, Jim Brugh, said the sentence should be decided based on law, rather than emotion. Therefore, he urged Maughmer to accept the agreement, saying it was a lengthy sentence for the crime.
“He’s going to be locked up longer than he’s even lived,” Brugh said.
Wilson also received an additional four-year suspended sentence and four years on probation. He’s been in the Cass County Jail since he was arrested, so he has 1,064 days of jail time credit.
After Swaim dropped the four charges with the family’s consent, Maughmer accepted the agreement. He told Brugh he believed Wilson had been unconscious when the incident occurred and that he was remorseful.
“I accept the fact that I think your client’s genuine today,” Maughmer said.
The victim’s father said in an interview they decided to go with the plea agreement at the end because they wanted the court hearings to end.
“We decided we wanted it to be over,” he said.
However, even with Monday’s sentence, the father said his family and his daughter would still be dealing with the emotional trauma for years to come.
“I think it’s just beginning, especially for my daughter,” McDonald said.
Caitlin Huston is a staff reporter of the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at 574-732-5148 or email@example.com.