Judge: Wilkey must testify
Statements made by a murder defendant to members of his family won't be allowed in his trial, a Yuma County Superior Court judge ruled Friday.
Judge John Nelson decided against allowing the trial jury to hear statements made by Brian Eugene Wilkey, 32, to his family members and girlfriend when he told them he killed James Gordon Maddux, 66, in self-defense Sept. 11, 2002.
Nelson ruled on a motion made by Deann Sandry, the prosecutor, who argued defense attorneys were trying to get the statements about self-defense presented to the jury without requiring Wilkey to take the stand. The trial is scheduled to begin May 7.
Wilkey can still make his self-defense claim to the jury but he will have to testify himself, which means Sandry will have the opportunity to cross-examine him under oath.
One of Wilkey's attorneys, Chris Weede, had argued statements made by Wilkey to his family and girlfriend should be allowed during the trial under the "excited utterances" exception to rule that excludes hearsay evidence. He pointed out Wilkey's first statements were made to his family within 20 minutes of the killing, which Weede said was well within the time limit for an excited utterance.