A Felicity man could spend the rest of his life behind bars after pleading guilty to murder.
Michael Wilcox was sentenced on Monday, Sept. 21, to 18-years to life in prison for the murder of Courtney Fowler by Brown County Court of Common Pleas Judge Scott T. Gusweiler. Wilcox’s sentence includes a mandatory three-years in prison for firearm specification in addition to the 15-years to life sentence he received for a conviction of felony murder in the first degree.
Wilcox, 27, has also been charged with the killing of Zachary Gilkison, but that case has not yet gone to trial.
According to documents filed with the Brown County Court of Common Pleas and Brown County Municipal Court, on April 16, Wilcox killed Fowler with a .45 caliber handgun at a residence in Lewis Township, Brown County. According to a probable cause affidavit, Wilcox claimed to Brown County Sheriff’s Office deputies at the Brown County jail that he had started listening to music and “the music was telling him to do something crazy.” Wilcox then allegedly retrieved the gun from the side of the bed and shot Fowler twice, once in the front and once in the back, according to the affidavit. Fowler was pronounced dead on the scene.
Wilcox was arrested in Hamilton County by New Richmond police officer Jesse Kidder, with help from Brown County Prosecutor’s Office investigator Forrest “Buddy” Coburn and his wife, Vicky Coburn. Wilcox was held on $2 million bond.
Wilcox was indicted, April 24, on two counts of murder, a first-degree felony, two counts of felonious assault, a first-degree felony, one count of failure to comply, a third-degree felony, and another count of failure to comply, a fourth-degree felony.
Wilcox made a written plea on May 1 of not guilty by reason of insanity, and on May 8, Judge Gusweiler ordered a psychiatric evaluation.
Wilcox’s court-appointed defense attorney Aaron Maus made a motion on June 1 for a second competency evaluation, to determine whether Wilcox could stand trial, and the court of common pleas approved the request. The first evaluation report was placed under seal, according to court documents.
Wilcox was also ordered to be transported from the Brown County Adult Detention Center to Summit Behavioral Healthcare in Cincinnati until a bed was available at Twin Valley Behavioral Healthcare Hospital in Columbus.
Wilcox was declared competent to stand trial on July 24, and a pre-trial for a motion to suppress was scheduled for Sept. 21 as well as a jury trial for five days beginning on Nov. 16.
But at his motion to suppress pre-trial, Wilcox changed his plea from not guilty to guilty and was sentenced by Gusweiler to 15-years to life in the Ohio Department of Corrections, consecutive with a three-year prison sentence due to firearm specification. The other five counts he was charged with, and their specifications, were dismissed.
Wilcox is not eligible for parole for 18 years.
Wilcox has a limited right to appeal the decision and a notice of appeal must be filed within 30 days.
Adams County prosecuting attorney was a specially appointed prosecutor for the case by Brown County Prosecutor Jessica Little due to a conflict of interest.
Wilcox was charged with the murder of Gilkison in Elsmere, Ky., on April 22, but according to reports, Kentucky state prosecutors had not yet scheduled court dates for Wilcox due to the ongoing court case in Ohio.
Reach Daniel Karell at 937-378-6161. Follow him on Twitter @GNDKarell