Facing the death penalty for capital murder, Raymond Wilson II agreed Thursday afternoon to spend the rest of his life in prison for the December shooting deaths of three people in a Rivercrest mobile home.
Wilson, 46, pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of first-degree murder, admitting to killing his girlfriend Lisa Zumwalt, 42, and the couple with whom she lived: Sherry Wood, 47, and Douglas Wade, 65.
Wilson appeared before state District Judge Paul White with his court-appointed attorney Jerry Whiteker, accepting three life sentences to be served concurrently. Before being led out of the Angelina County courthouse, Wilson said he regretted his actions the night of Dec. 13, 2009.
“My attorney asked me not to say anything, but I am very sorry for what I done,” Wilson said, peering from behind his thick glasses.
When asked if he remembered shooting Zumwalt, Wood and Wade, Wilson shook his head no and mouthed, “I wasn’t right in the head.”
Outside of the trailer home the night of the killings, Wilson’s niece said Zumwalt called Wilson just before he shot her and told him she had been having an affair with Wood and Wade. Wilson’s niece went on to say that Zumwalt’s confession put him in a blind rage, leading to the shootings. Wilson’s brother denied that statement.
“The paper and everybody else was reporting that it was a sexual thing, but it wasn’t,” Tommy Wilson said. “He got into a fight with my nephew and then 20 to 25 minutes later he shot two of his good friends and his girlfriend. He wasn’t right that night. He doesn’t even know that he walked into my house and took the gun out of its holster.”
Wilson then left his brother’s home with the .38 revolver, going to the trailer home where he shot Zumwalt, Wood and Wade in the living room. Zumwalt was found in a chair, with a portable house phone beside her body, and Wood and Wade were on the floor. It appears Zumwalt attempted to dial the sheriff’s office number, but was shot before the call could be completed, according to previous reports. Having been deeply affected by Wilson’s actions, family members of the deceased were allowed to address Wilson in open court before he was taken back to jail Thursday.
Wilson’s eyes shuffled nervously around the courtroom as Zumwalt’s sister took the podium.
“You left such a void in our lives. She is finally free of you but at the ultimate cost — her life. And by your hands, the ones she loved and trusted,” Darlene Dominguez said, sobbing. “You ended her life but she will always be in our hearts, which is something that you can’t destroy. I take satisfaction in the three life sentences, knowing that you’ll die in prison. You will never come up for parole, but if you do, I will be right here making sure that you never get out.”
Jessica Cooley’s e-mail address is email@example.com.