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Sunday, April 30, 2017
Southwest Louisiana ,

Locke found guilty of second-degree murder

Last Modified: Wednesday, March 06, 2013 10:18 PM

By Johnathan Manning / American Press

Wilson Locke showed little emotion as a jury returned a guilty verdict against him Wednesday in his second-degree murder trial.

Locke, 57, had pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, but jurors took a little under two hours to find him guilty as charged.

Locke killed his 28-year-old stepdaughter, Serebia Dean, with a shotgun on May 4, 2005.

His case was held up because psychiatrists said he was not competent to stand trial. In 2009, he was found competent to stand trial.

In addition to the option of a not guilty verdict, jurors also could have found him guilty of negligent homicide or manslaughter.

“We’re just glad we got justice for Serebia, for her daughter and for Sahara (Locke),” said Janice Spencer, Dean’s cousin.

Sahara Locke, Wilson’s son and Dean’s sister, testified in the case Tuesday.

He declined to comment on the verdict.

Wilson Locke’s defense didn’t deny that he killed Dean, but questioned whether he was sane at the time of the crime.

While testimony Tuesday mostly revolved around what happened the day of the crime, Wednesday’s testimony centered on Locke’s mental state.

All the psychiatrists and psychologists agreed that Locke had delusional mental issues, although some said that did not prohibit him from knowing right from wrong.

The mental health experts, as well as Sahara Locke, said that Wilson Locke claimed someone had planted a bug in his head.

Steven Hale, an attorney who represented Locke in a personal injury case before May 2005, said Locke would show up at Hale’s law firm claiming that his landlord was spying on him and that someone had gone into his attic and placed devices there.

“His mental state deteriorated each time I saw him,” Hale said.

Dr. Ted Friedberg, a psychologist who examined Locke, said his diagnosis was that Locke had “persecutory delusional disorder” and was insane at the time of the killing.

He said Locke’s actions were a product of “this disease.”

“This act was reasonable in his distorted perception,” he said.

State psychiatrist Dr. Garrett Ryder said that though he believed Locke was suffering from depression so severe he became delusional, he believed Locke knew the difference between right and wrong.

Ryder said Locke believed someone had planted a bug in his mouth, that people were monitoring him, that he was hearing voices and that Serebia was in league with those people. He also said that Locke told staff at the mental hospital in which he was institutionalized after the crime that someone had installed cameras in his house and that there were footprints in his home that were not his family members’.

Ryder said Locke also told him that he had tried to contact Jesse Jackson and Louis Farrakhan for help.

Under questioning from prosecutor Jonathan Blake, Ryder said that the facts that Locke attempted to move the body and sought law enforcement could have been indicators that he knew right from wrong. He said the fact that he cried after the crime “possibly” was also an indicator that he knew right from wrong.

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