FL v. Wade Wilson: Strangled Women Murder Trial

Posted at 1:13 PM, June 12, 2024

CAPE CORAL, Fla. (Court TV/Scripps News Fort Myers) — A Florida man is facing the death penalty after being convicted of murdering two women.

wade wilson appears in court

Wade Wilson appears in court Monday, June 10, 2024. (Court TV)

On Wednesday, a jury found Wade Wilson guilty in the 2019 deaths of 35-year-old Kristine Melton and 43-year-old Diane Ruiz. The penalty phase in Wilson’s trial will begin Thursday, June 20.

Melton was found dead in her Cape Coral home on Oct. 7. That same day, Ruiz vanished while walking to work. Her body was found three days later in a field behind a Sam’s Club.

In Nov. 2019, Wilson was indicted on multiple charges, including two counts of first-degree premeditated murder. Prosecutors said Wilson strangled the women to death.

At the time of the indictment, Wilson was already in custody on unrelated battery charges. He was hit with additional charges in Oct. 2020 after he and another inmate allegedly tried to escape jail.

While awaiting trial, Wilson contacted Scripps News Fort Myers multiple times. In 2020, he told them “that he used to be connected to a high-level human trafficking ring and that he would groom women for them.” Wilson claimed the group was framing him for the murders as punishment for trying to leave.

In a pretrial motion, Wilson asked the court for facial makeup to cover up his tattoos “that might be objectionable to members of the potential jury pool.” The judge granted his request.

DAILY TRIAL UPDATES

DAY 3 – 6/12/24

  • In their closing argument, the prosecution says the killings were premeditated, while Wilson’s defense claims he’s ‘just wacked out of his mind.’
  • After roughly two hours of deliberations, the jury found Wilson guilty of all charges.
    • First-degree murder (Kristine Melton): Guilty
    • Grand theft of motor vehicle (belonging to Kristine Melton): Guilty
    • Battery (Melissa Montanez): Guilty
    • First-degree murder (Diane Ruiz): Guilty
    • Burglary of a dwelling (home of Fannie Amlin): Guilty
    • First-degree petit theft (property of Fannie Amlin in home): Guilty
  • WATCH: Verdict | FL v. Wade Wilson: Strangled Women Murder Trial
  • The penalty phase will bein Thursday, June 20.

DAY 2 – 6/11/24

DAY 1 – 6/10/24

  • The prosecution delivers their opening statement. The defense reserves theirs.
  • The jury hears a 911 call from Joshua Lukitsch
    • Lukitsch testified that Wilson told him he ‘killed people’ and needed to leave town
  • Stephanie Sailors, roommate of victim Kristine Melton, testified about meeting the defendant the night before Melton’s death. Sailors said when she last saw Melton, ‘everything was fine,’ saying, ‘Kristine would have never let me leave the house if she was scared.’
  • Associate medical examiner Dr. Noelia Alemar Hernandez testified that Melton was killed by asphyxia due to compression of the neck.
  • The jury heard testimony from the son and fiancé of victim Diane Ruiz.