A local man was charged with 10 counts of Jacksonville Aggravated Assault for shooting into a crowd at his neighbor’s house during a house party last week. Police reported that Randall Wilkie was upset about the noise coming from the party and fired the shots into the house where about 15 people were gathered, according to a report on News4Jax. No one was hit with any of the shots, the television station reported.
But Wilkie has a completely different story that he told his mother, according the news report. He said he came home and saw his girlfriend outside at the neighbor’s house, then three cars pulled up and several people jumped out and started a fight, the television station reported. Wilkie said some of the people started beating his girlfriend, so he ran to his house to get a gun and started shooting to protect her, according to the news report.
Wilkie is charged with 10 counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in Jacksonville. Each count is a third-degree felony in Florida with a maximum penalty of five years in prison, which means Wilkie would be looking at a maximum of 50 years in prison if convicted of all counts and the judge opts to give him consecutive sentences. But it could get much worse for Wilkie. Because he discharged a firearm, he could be subject to a 20-year minimum mandatory sentence under the state’s 10-20-Life law for gun crimes.
The state has the option to do so in Duval County aggravated assault cases with a firearm and the judge would have no choice but to sentence him to 20 years in prison. The law has been the subject of highly publicized cases, including one were Jacksonville mother Marissa Alexander was sentenced to 20 years in prison after firing a warning shot to get away from what she said was a threatening, abusive husband. The judge’s hands were tied and could not sentence her to anything lower than 20 years, but prosecutors said their offer of three years was on the table until the week of the trial. The minimum mandatory is generally used as leverage if the person doesn’t take the deal the state wants the defendant to take, as it was in the Alexander case.
There is plenty of investigating to do in this case, especially because the stories are so drastically different, so a decision on the minimum mandatory does not need to be made now. When police came to talk to Wilkie at his home, he declined to speak to police and told them he wanted to talk to a Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorney first. If police want to talk to you and you have reason to believe it is because officers feel you are a suspect in a criminal case, you should always ask to speak with a Jacksonville Criminal Lawyer. The line police read people is not to be taken lightly: Anything you say really can and really will be used against you in court.
If you or a loved one needs a gun crimes attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a free consultation. Our Duval County Gun Crimes Attorney, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.