LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - He now stands convicted of second degree murder. And Robert Wilkins' confession video offers a glimpse into the world of one who was a drug addict, drug trafficker and, or so he claimed, had a large drug debt.
The DVD is the one played in court--his video statement to deputies after Fontenot was murdered. "And that's when I pulled the knife out. And I don't know where I hit him. It was pitch black."
The video was a key part of the evidence in Wilkins trial which ended last night when he was convicted Fontenot's murder in 2004. On The DVD Wilkins admits stabbing Fontenot. On the video a deputy asks him, "Where did you have the knife?" Says Wilkins, "In my back pocket. I pulled it and done this. I believe I hit him twice. He started yelling, got out of his truck and ran. I got out, got in my vehicle and took off back to Sulphur."
He claimed it was self defense. "I owed the man almost $5000. He said, 'I told you if you don't have my money I will kill you.' And that's when I pulled the knife out. After the man told me, 'I told you not to mess with my money or I'll kill you,' that's when I decided to strike. Because I had no idea if he was going to pull a gun then up there or what."
But the 10-2 verdict shows most jurors didn't buy it. A key issue was that there was no evidence Fontenot made any aggressive moves toward Wilkins. Deputy asked, about Fontenot's actions. "But he didn't do anything at that particular time, he just said what you comment there?" Wilkins nodded his head yes.
Wilkins also talked about his expensive addiction to crack. Crack was getting to be real bad, real bad." The deputy probed, "How much you'd do? How many a day you think?" Says Wilkins, "I'd go through a couple hundred dollars a day. I'd go out and get it, sell it, always had it covered, and had my supply to smoke. It started leaking over and it was all gone. And I had no money."
He knew it looked bad for him. "I screwed up," he says. And ultimately there are words of regret. "It wasn't my desire to kill him. At all. That's something I've got to live with."
Words that won't now change his fate.
Tony Fontenot's family says Wilkins lied about many things, including that he owed Fontenot money. For more excerpts of the Wilkins video look for the link on this page. Wilkins will be formally sentenced to life in prison February 23.
The defense will likely appeal Wilkins' conviction.