By Whitney Grunder - email
LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - A Rivercrest man has pleaded guilty to murdering his girlfriend and two others last December. He has accepted a life sentence for each count of first degree murder.
Raymond Wilson II, was charged with capital murder, a charge which the district attorney's office has dropped in exchange for the plea.
According to a probable cause affidavit, Angelina County Sheriff's Investigator Seth Stover walked into a home on Brazos Boulevard and found Lisa Zumwalt sitting slumped over in a chair with a single gunshot wound to the head. On the floor several feet away was Douglas Wade who also appeared to have been shot in the head and lying on top of Sherry Wood's head.
Following Wilson's accepting the plea,Judge Paul White called for victim impact statements. A tearful Leiloni Kershaw, the daughter of Douglas Wade, took the stand.
"He never took a life in cold blood. That puts him miles up on the ladder from you Mr. Wilson. You had no right to decide when or whether my son got to meet their grandfather," said Kershaw.
"Raymond, you took this away from us, " said another family member as she held a picture of Wade so Wilson could see. "We both know we're not supposed to go the way they did, by you killing them ... They all had so much life to live," said another member of the Wade family. Lisa Zumwalt's sister, Darlene Dominquez then took the stand.
"You had no right to do what you did on Dec. 13. Murdering my sister, my only sister," she said tearfully. "You could have chosen not to take three innocent lives, of your friends. Did they have a choice? You left Lisa's kids without a mother... You were a big man holding a gun. Let's see how big you are now, in prison... I take satisfaction in the three life sentences, knowing you'll die in prison. You will never have parole, but if you do, I will be right here when you get out."
"I'm not going to stand here and tell you about the emotions that I've gone through this year. I don't really feel that will affect you after what you did. But I will stand here and tell you, while you may have been able to take away their physical bodies, you will never be able to take away our memories of them, the love we gave them," said Zumwalt's niece.
It's pain Wilson's family says they share in their own way.
"I'm truly sorry for what happened because my dad was a good man. So was Wade, Sherry and Lisa," said Raymond Wilson III, Wilson's son. Wilson's wife will never see him again, except through plate glass.
"I'm proud of him, you know he owned up to what he done," said Talina Wilson. "I could feel the anger that the families had toward him and i understand that, I do but I also felt you know the pain that he was feeling for what he had done and the pain he had caused them," she said.
Darleen Wood, who spoke for her sister in court, tells a different story. "He didn't have any emotion, no expression I mean, no feelings, no remorse or tears," said Wood.
For some, three life sentences aren't enough. "He should have got the death penalty," said Wood. Other family of the victims say life in jail is plenty of time for Wilson to think about the murders.
"His life would not bring them back. I think he's getting what he deserves by spending the rest of his natural life in prison," said Kershaw.
Wilson's wife blames the slayings on alcoholism and below the surface she says Raymond is a good man. "He's very remorseful about what he's done. You know and he wishes he could take it back but he can't," said Talina.
For three families, facing Wilson in court is a dark reminder of what they can never get back. "His time came. We're glad it's done. It's over now and we know in our hearts where he'll be. He'll pay," said Wood.
According to the affidavit, a neighbor said the three had been barbecuing and drinking beer for much of the day and at around 7 p.m. he heard some "bangs" come from his neighbor's house but did not think anything of it.
He then said he heard Wilson's truck start, then die, then start again, before driving away. The neighbor said he knew it was Wilson's truck because he hears it every day. He also said Wilson drove away faster than usual.
Stover then went to the deputy car in which Wilson was apprehended in and had him step out of the car where observed blood on Wilson's person and clothes.