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Crime spree killer seeks to overturn ’12 guilty pleas

October 30th, 2013 10:23 pm by Jeff Bobo

Crime spree killer seeks to overturn ’12 guilty pleas

DALE WAYNE WILBANKS

ROGERSVILLE — Dale Wayne Wilbanks testified Wednesday he wouldn’t have accepted a 25-year plea agreement for murder and attempted murder last year in Hawkins County if his attorney had shared certain information with him.

That information pertained to a communication between Wilbanks’ Hawkins County attorney, William Ricker, and his Coffee County attorney Margo Kilgore, who represents him on several felony charges there which are still pending there.

Wilbanks, 49, of Church Hill, is seeking to have his 2012 guilty pleas for second-degree murder and first-degree attempted murder overturned.

He testified during a hearing Wednesday in Rogersville that he wasn’t told until after pleading on May 18, 2012, that any potential Coffee County sentence would likely be added consecutively.

Wilbanks has been offered an eight-year plea agreement in Coffee County. He testified that Ricker failed to inform him after Kilgore sent Ricker a letter stating that Coffee County almost always sentences consecutively to other jurisdictions.

Kilgore testified that she advised Ricker in early 2012 about Coffee County’s “consecutive” sentencing policy. She said she advised Ricker not to plead the Hawkins charges until the Coffee charges were resolved.

No Coffee County plea deal had been offered as of May 18, 2012. But, Wilbanks was scheduled to appear in Coffee County three days later and potentially resolve charges at that time.

Ricker testified Wednesday that he informed Wilbanks on April 11, 2012 about Kilgore’s communication, although he didn’t recall if Kilgore told him to delay the Hawkins plea until Coffee County was resolved.

“He knew what was going down,” Ricker testified. “Stalling wouldn’t have made any difference.” 

For an expanded version of this article, please see Thursday’s print edition or our expanded electronic edition.

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