LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Six people involved in one murder covered it up for years before they were caught. Thursday, the sixth and final suspect in the Bernard Wilson murder case pleaded guilty.
The remains of 17-year-old Wilson were found in Yellow House Canyon in December of 2005. Finally, two years later, Wilson's father recognized a computer generated sketch. DNA evidence confirmed his identity and investigators tracked his murder back to six suspects. After Thursday's final guilty plea, investigators revealed for the first time, the events leading up to the murder, and the bizarre motive behind the crime.
Wilson's murder started with a robbery. On April 21st, 2005 Wilson and a group of friends decided to rob Whataburger at 50th and Utica, where Wilson worked, when an employee recognized at least one of them, some of the older would-be robbers got scared, and Wilson paid the price. "He was the newest friend to this group of people. They felt like he was the youngest, the weakest link. He was the one, if anybody had to talk to law enforcement, he would be the one to give them up," said Texas Ranger, Tony Arnold, who worked on the case.
Prosecutors suspect within 36 hours of the failed robbery, members of the group decided to kill Wilson. They stabbed him multiple times at a house on the corner of 45th and Boston. They dumped his body near Buffalo Springs Lake, and it would be more than seven months before Wilson's badly decomposed body was found at Yellow House Canyon.
It would take two years until Wilson's father recognized the boy in a police sketch. "Once we got the body identified, they were able to kind of trace his steps back over two years, prior to them finding his body and were able to find his associates, kind of find out what it is & just kind of started falling in place right there," said Lubbock County District Attorney, Matt Powell.
The investigation led them to six suspects. "The evidence that we had was basically the statements from all six of these individuals, kind of pointing the fingers at each other," said Powell.
Finger pointing that revealed a motive for that Whataburger robbery and the events that followed. They said they needed money to follow their dream of starting a rap group, a dream that turned into a nightmare for 17-year-old Bernard Wilson. All six suspects pleaded guilty to murder. All six are now behind bars. Keyairra Brown is serving 29 years, and Leslie Evans 25. Investigators believe they were directly responsible for killing Wilson.
Carnell Littlejohn and Joe Ragan were sentenced to 10 years. Prosecutors say they stabbed Wilson, but are not directly responsible for the death. Wanda Wilson and Thamar Snyder will serve 5 years. Authorities say they didn't stab Wilson, but were involved in the plot. "We tried to show, or tried to give the type of pleas that we thought were in accordance with the involvement of each defendant," said Powell.
Wilson's father says he doesn't think they got a harsh enough sentence. "I'm not happy with it, but it's something. At least they're off the streets and won't hurt nobody else's baby," said Bruce Wilson.
After years of work, the District Attorney's office can now put the case to rest, and they are confident they prosecuted everyone involved. "There's no celebration today, but it's you know, there is a sense of accomplishment," said Powell.
DNA Tests Reveal Identity of Remains Found Two Years Ago
DNA tests reveal the remains found two years ago at Yellow House Canyon are that of 17-year-old Bernard O'Niell Wilson.