LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Testimony is set to resume at 10 this morning in the trial of Robert Wilkins. The defense admits Wilkins stabbed Tony Fontenot back in September 2004. But the trial will determine whether Wilkins is guilty of second degree murder as charged.
In opening statements yesterday, special prosecutor Tony Clayton vividly described Wilkins slashing at Fontenot's neck with a knife after the two met in the dead of night at the Choupique boat launch off Highway 108.
Clayton says Wilkins was the aggressor who went to the meeting to "assassinate" Fontenot.
Defense attorney Richard Bourke says Wilkins stabbed Fontenot in self defense. Bourke says Wilkins thought Fontenot was going to kill him because he owed him $5000 and couldn't pay. The defense says Wilkins was an addict who owed Fontenot money for drugs.
Fontenot bled to death after being stabbed. His body was discovered by a motorist on the side of Highway 108 where it crosses the Choupique Bayou. The jury was shown a video of the gruesome scene and Fontenot's body where he died after losing so much blood.
Wilkins is also charged with possession with intent to distribute marijuana and crack cocaine. Deputies discovered the drugs in a search of Wilkins room after Fontenot was found dead. The jury saw crime scene photos of a large bag of marijuana hidden behind a picture of Jesus in his room and there were photos of crack cocaine rocks allegedly hidden in Wilkins' pillow case.
Because of conflict and recusal issues West Baton Rouge Assistant District Attorneys, Tony Clayton and Marty Mailey are prosecuting the case along with Calcasieu First Assistant D.A. Cynthia Killingsworth.
District Attorney John DeRosier says both have a lot of experience. One even helped prosecute serial killer Derrick Todd Lee. "Both of these prosecutors are very experienced homicide prosecutors. I know that Tony Clayton participated or prosecuted Derrick Todd Lee in one or some of his cases and actually I think has written a book on that subject matter. Marty Mailey has also been a significant prosecutor. Very good lawyers, both of them very capable homicide prosecutors."
The trial is underway before Judge Kent Savoie.