MELROSE, FLORIDA: A man who allegedly killed two boys, aged 12 and 14, may face death sentence as the Florida state is intending to demand one for him, State Attorney RJ Larizza said. Mark Wilson Jr is accused of killing Robert Baker (12) and Tayten Baker (14), who were the nephews of his girlfriend. The announcement regarding the death penalty came on Tuesday, October 20, after has was indicted by a Putnam County grand jury on two counts of first-degree murder, one count of burglary with a battery, and one count of burglary while armed.
Larizza said the decision to seek the death sentence for the 30-year-old suspect came after having a discussion with the deceased boys’ family. He stated, “The aggravating factors are the defendant was previously convicted of another capital felony or of a felony involving the use or threat of violence to the person. Because these were double homicides committed almost simultaneously, we believe that aggravator applies. Also, the capital felony was committed while the defendant was engaged in the commission of a burglary — a forcible felony. We also believe that the capital felonies, or murders, were especially heinous, atrocious, and cruel. We also believe that they were committed in a cold, calculated, and premeditated manner. I can tell you it was not a difficult decision to make.”
While Putnam County Sheriff Gator DeLoach said that it was not his or anyone else’s job to decide the punishment for the accused, he hoped that the hard work of deputies, investigators, victim advocates, and the State Attorney’s Office will help get justice to the adolescent boys and their family. “While it’ll be up to a jury to hear the case and decide the facts — here is not the place to have a trial by public perception — but I’m saying only that this is truly one of the most horrific crime scenes that I’ve ever seen in my life. Our thoughts and condolences remain with the family,” DeLoach added.
After committing the alleged murders, Wilson Jr was arrested in late August. At the time of the incident, he was living in an outbuilding of the Baker family who recently shifted to Putnam County from Polk County to stay near the family. He allegedly used a hammer and knife to murder the boys, who died from blunt force trauma and deep lacerations. After recovering the bodies of the victims, the Sheriff’s Office investigators set up a meeting between Wilson Jr and an unidentified witness.
During the meeting, the accused reportedly confessed to double murder. He also said that he did so because he and his family were stressed by the children’s family, who reported them to the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF). However, it was not immediately clear why the victims’ family would report the accused and his family to DCF. During the interrogation, Wilson Jr also trapped his girlfriend, who were the kids’ aunt, into his alleged evil plan. He claimed that he and her partner thought of murdering the whole family, including a four-year-old kid, the Sheriff’s Office stated.
The warrant revealed that Wilson Jr also told a witness that the actual plan was his girlfriend would kill the kids’ mother and the four-year-old boy, while he would murder Robert and Tayten. He stated that his girlfriend did not contact him after the killings, which left him furious. But the kids’ grandmother has denied any such allegations against her daughter. The aunt is not facing any charges while her boyfriend has been held without any bond.
Locals were also happy with the announcement as one identified as Brittany Snyder said: “I feel like justice was served. I feel like those two boys were taken from our community and our society way too soon.” Resident Jennifer Graham added, “They need to get the death penalty. That’s children.”