Mendocino County man sentenced in dragging slaying

Nov 17, 2014 10:43 AM by News Staff

WILLITS, Calif. (AP) - A Northern California family says it is still trying to understand what led to the slaying of their 84-year-old father, who was killed by being dragged behind a pickup truck for six miles.

A Mendocino County judge sentenced 25-year-old Kenneth Wilkinson, the victim's grandson, to 25 years-to-life in prison on Friday in the 2012 slaying of Richard "Mel" Wilkinson in the Willits area. Kenneth Wilkinson had pleaded guilty to first-degree murder.

According to court records, he acknowledged hitting his grandfather in the head with an ax during an argument. A blood test indicated Kenneth Wilkinson had drugs in his system.

His attorney, Jan Cole-Wilson, says he dragged what he thought was a dead body behind the truck.

Lori Tharp, Richard Wilkinson's daughter, tells the Press Democrat of Santa Rosa family members are struggling to understand what happened.


Information from: The Santa Rosa Press Democrat

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