Twins plead guilty in killing

Pregnant woman was shot at bus stop

Govans boys, 16, had confessed

Mother of defendants works with crime victims

August 06, 2004|By Allison Klein | Allison Klein,SUN STAFF

A set of 16-year-old identical twins pleaded guilty yesterday in Baltimore Circuit Court in connection with the shooting death of a pregnant woman who rebuffed their sexual advances at a city bus stop last year.

Brian Antonio Wilson, who admitted to shooting the woman, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and faces up to 30 years in prison. His accomplice, Paul Anthony Wilson, pleaded guilty to second-degree assault and may be sentenced to up to 10 years.

The Govans teens, whose parents work in Maryland's criminal justice system, have lengthy criminal records, beginning when they were 12 years old.

Victim Quwanda "Wanda" Thornton, 20, was shot once in the chest the day before Thanksgiving as she waited for the No. 8 bus in the 5600 block of York Road. Four weeks' pregnant, she was on her way to her job as a receptionist at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Thornton walked up to the bus stop about 5:30 p.m., where she encountered the Wilson twins, according to prosecutors.

"During the encounter, both defendants made sexual advances toward the victim and at one point grabbed her arm," according to a statement of facts read yesterday by Baltimore County prosecutor James Gentry, who handled the case.

When Thornton pulled away from them, Brian Wilson slipped a .38-caliber handgun from his waistband and shot her, Gentry said. As she fell, the twins ran away.

The Wilsons were arrested a week later, and both confessed to their crimes, Gentry said. They said that at the time of the shooting they were trying to get Thornton's phone number, according to the prosecutor.

Gentry is handling the case rather than a prosecutor from Baltimore City, where the crime occurred, because of a conflict involving Lynette Wilson, the twins' mother, who works as an administrator in the victim assistance unit of the Baltimore state's attorney's office.

Lynette Wilson's duties at the office include guiding victims' families through court proceedings. The twins' father is a correctional officer.

Thornton's family showed up at yesterday's hearing wearing shirts emblazoned with Thornton's picture, and passed out fliers with another picture of Thornton and her 4-year-old son, Markell R. Thornton.

The flier carried a message: "We would like to know how Lynette Wilson, who works for the state's attorney's office for victim assistance, will be able to do her job to help victims that her sons help create."

Thornton's aunt, Jacqueline Hill, also said she was upset because Lynette Wilson has not spoken to the Thornton family on behalf of the Wilson twins.

"We made an attempt to talk to them, but they made it clear they didn't want to talk to us," Hill said in an interview after the hearing.

Lynette Wilson would not comment, but Margaret T. Burns, spokeswoman for the state's attorney's office, released a statement saying Lynette Wilson was advised not to speak with Thornton's family until after the sentencing Oct. 4.

"It is recommended policy that defendants and their families refrain from any comments that may prejudice or influence the best possible prosecution and sentence for pending criminal matters," Burns said.

Brian Wilson's lawyer, Catherine Flynn, said the twins are "very remorseful" for their crimes.

"This is very, very sad for everybody involved," Flynn said.

The Wilson twins, and their older brother Tyrone Wilson, have a history of trouble with the law.

The gun that was used in the Thornton shooting was recovered by police when Tyrone Wilson, 18, was arrested with it after an armed robbery, according to prosecutors. Tyrone Wilson said at the time of his arrest that his younger brothers had used the gun to murder a young woman, prosecutors said.

Court records show the twins had been arrested together at least four times between September 2000 and July last year on charges including burglary and drug violations.

At the time of the murder, they were on probation in the juvenile justice system stemming from drug possession charges. Brian Wilson had been placed on home arrest by a juvenile judge, meaning the teen was under Department of Juvenile Services authority and was required to wear an electronic anklet so that his movements could be monitored.

But in early October, prosecutors and Juvenile Services officials say, he removed the anklet, and a writ -- similar to a warrant -- was issued for his arrest.

His next contact with authorities was when he was arrested for Thornton's murder.

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