Wilhelm takes plea to Florida Supreme Court

Clay Today
Posted 9/19/18

TALLAHASSEE – A man convicted of killing an Orange Park woman at Florida State University seven years ago is appealing to the state’s Supreme Court.

In January of 2011, an inebriated Evan Cook …

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Wilhelm takes plea to Florida Supreme Court

Posted

TALLAHASSEE – A man convicted of killing an Orange Park woman at Florida State University seven years ago is appealing to the state’s Supreme Court.

In January of 2011, an inebriated Evan Cook Wilhelm, 21, allegedly was waving an AK-47 around at a FSU fraternity party. He discharged the firearm and killed 20-year-old Ashley Cowie, 20, of Orange Park.

Last week, Wilhelm’s attorneys filed a notice they are appealing the 1st District Court of Appeal’s ruling from June.

According to court documents, Wilhelm pleaded no contest to three charges: culpable negligence with injury, possession of a firearm on school property and manslaughter. Wilhelm was convicted in July 2012 and later sentenced to 20 years in prison and 10 years on probation.

Wilhelm’s appeal was denied by the 1st District Court of Appeal. He claimed his attorneys were ineffective, and he should have been tried as a youthful offender and he was given an illegal general sentence.

Wilhelm claimed two of his four attorneys were knowledgeable of a 10-year plea deal offered by the state. The two attorneys testified to the court they told Wilhelm of the plea and he refused the offer, instead he wanted a sentence of two or three years.

Wilhelm also said his lawyers missed a window for him to be sentenced as a youthful offender. The appeals court stated the charges were filed a few months after he turned 21. The appeals court also corrected its initial ruling in August and stated the 20-year sentence is for the manslaughter charge and the other two charges amounted to time served.

“We additionally find no merit to the argument that counsel’s failure to own up to miscalculating Mr. Wilhelm’s age at the sentencing hearing created a conflict of interest and ineffective assistance,” the appeals court wrote.

Wilhelm, 28, is incarcerated at Wakulla Correctional Institution in Crawfordsville. The State Supreme Court has not scheduled oral arguments in his case.

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