Bellmead man shot father-in-law five times during cookout, mother-in-law twice in the back, witnesses testify
WACO, Texas (KWTX) - Johnny Alvin Wilson shot his father-in-law at least five times during a family cookout then went inside the house to reload his .38-caliber revolver and shot his mother-in-law twice in the back while she was attending to her fallen ex-husband, two of the victims’ children testified Monday.
Neither Landon Wilson nor his older sister, Haley Wilson, heard any arguments or witnessed any confrontations before Johnny Wilson shot and killed their parents, Rachel Strickland, 40, and Christopher Wilson, 42, the siblings told jurors.
Johnny Wilson, 39, is on trial in Waco’s 54th State District Court on capital murder charges in the May 2020 deaths of Strickland and Wilson, her ex-husband, at the Florida Street home in Bellmead Johnny Wilson shared with Ashley Wilson, the shooting victims’ older daughter and the mother of his 3-month-old son.
Landon Wilson, 16, and Haley Wilson, 18, both testified that their parents were unhappy that Johnny Wilson and Ashely Wilson were in a relationship and raising a son together because they are second cousins. However, despite that and their parents’ recent divorce, they both testified that Ashley asked them to the impromptu family gathering because she wanted both her parents to share in the life of their grandson.
After the shooting stopped, both fled to safety and called police. Bellmead police Sgt. Cole Baack testified Monday that he spotted Johnny Wilson standing in his driveway holding the revolver over his head with his left hand as he drove up on the scene. Not knowing exactly what happened, Baack instructed other officers to grab first-aid kits and head to the back yard.
“There ain’t no helping them,” Johnny Wilson could be heard saying on Baack’s body camera while he was lying handcuffed face down on the ground.
Landon Wilson and Haley Wilson both told the jury that they were playing in the above-ground swimming pool in the back yard and everyone seemed to be getting along just fine. However, Johnny Wilson came over with a knife in his hand and told them both to get out of the pool and go home. He threatened to slash the sides of the pool and said they would be swept away in a flood of water, they said.
As Landon Wilson was climbing out of the pool on the ladder, he said his back was turned to the others but he heard a gunshot. As he turned, he saw Johnny Wilson holding a revolver and said he fired at least four more shots at his father, who was talking on a cell phone near a shed when he was killed.
Haley Wilson testified she didn’t see her father get shot, but saw her mother rush over to see about him. She said Johnny Wilson went inside the house to reload his revolver and heard her sister, Ashley, yell, “Baby, baby, don’t do that.”
Both Haley Wilson and Landon Wilson said they saw Johnny Wilson shoot their mother in the back multiple times while she was trying to perform CPR on her former husband. They said they waited for their chance to flee and ran to safety.
“He just killed both of my parents and I wasn’t sure what he planned to do after that,” Landon Wilson said.
In other prosecution testimony, two medical examiners told jurors about the gunshot wounds that killed the couple. Strickland suffered five gunshot wounds, including two to the back, one to the chest, one to the left buttock and one to the right thumb.
Christopher Wilson suffered seven gunshot wounds, including two to the right side of the face, two to the back, one to the chest, one to the abdomen, with an exit wound to the back.
Prosecution testimony resumes Tuesday morning.
Because the state is not seeking the death penalty, Wilson faces an automatic life prison term with no parole if convicted of capital murder.
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