August 27, 2007
According to court papers, 40 year-old Michael Christmas admitted fatally shooting 36-year-old Ronald Wilkins. But in court Christmas pleaded not guilty to the four charges he faces.
"First degree murder, for the premeditated killing of Ron Wilkins, he is also charged with three counts of aggravated sexual," said State's Attorney Erica Marthage.
The murder took place outside a home in Shaftsbury, where a relative of Wilkins lives. Police say Christmas rode his bike to the house carrying a 9 millimeter handgun to "kill the person who was his biggest pain." Police say Wilkins' children saw Christmas kill their father. Other witnesses say it happened very quickly.
"Pretty scary," said 14-year-old Chris Loomis, who witnessed the shooting. "He came right up through a little trail, and he was carrying a 9 millimeter, and he shot him while all the kids were sitting right there."
Prosecutors would not comment on a motive, but court papers indicated that Christmas allegedly molested more than one of Wilkins' relatives. Police say the two men had once been brothers-in-law, and have been feuding for years.
Those feelings erupted in court as both families shouted back and forth.
The victim's girlfriend, Pam Conley, was involved in a courtroom scuffle. She was escorted from the building visibly upset. Added security was on hand outside in the parking lot as Christmas was taken back to jail. He is being held without bail.
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