Garrett Eldred Wilson, the Maryland father convicted of killing his infant son in 1987 for $150,000 in insurance money, was sentenced yesterday to spend the rest of his life in prison, without the possibility of parole.
Wilson, 43, who told Montgomery County Circuit Judge Ann S. Harrington that his conviction was based on "mathematical sorcery," stood silently as the judge imposed the sentence. In Wilson's only show of emotion, his face turned from red to white.
In addition to this conviction for killing his 5-month-old son, Garrett Michael, Wilson is also charged in Prince George's County in the 1981 death of an infant daughter, Brandi Jean, allegedly for $40,000 in insurance money. That trial is scheduled for November.
Harrington, who allowed testimony about the infant girl's death in Wilson's murder trial in the death of his son, said she felt compelled to consider the fate of the infant girl--as well as Wilson's convictions for embezzlement of government property and bank embezzlement--in sending him to prison for the rest of his life.
Harrington said the fact that Wilson even shot himself in his stomach to make it appear he had been shot by armed robbers at a Prince George's County bank in 1982 "demonstrated the length he was willing to go because he had a love and need for money."
"Clearly [the case] hit people to their heart, and to their soul because his crimes were so monstrous," Harrington said.
Wilson's current wife, his fourth, wrote the judge that their 6-year-old daughter would miss her father's loving embrace, but Harrington said "this baby [Garrett Michael] was in his father's arms. He had him with the full intent of killing him. That was for money."
Urging Harrington to impose the stiffest possible sentence, Assistant State's Attorney David A. Boyton described Wilson as a "complete sociopath" incapable of rehabilitation, and State's Attorney Douglas F. Gansler said Wilson "should have learned to accept this responsibility."
Defense attorney Barry H. Helfand argued that if Harrington sentenced Wilson to life in prison, she should allow a Prince George's County judge to decide later whether he ought to serve his time without parole. But she ignored that argument in her sentencing decision.
Helfand said after the hearing that Wilson's conviction would be appealed and that he will file a motion in Prince George's County to prevent Wilson from being tried there, on the grounds that it would constitute double jeopardy. He said that Harrington, in effect, also sentenced his client for Brandi Jean's death, although Wilson has not been tried or convicted in the child's death.
Addressing the judge before his sentence was announced, Wilson, a former piano salesman, denied that he killed either of his children. He said he loved Brandi Jean and Garrett Michael, and that he "did not kill my daughter and I did not kill my son."
He told the court he believed he did not receive a fair trial. "I think the bottom line was that mathematical sorcery used to weave a spell that there would be no doubt," that he killed both children, Wilson said.
Initially, the deaths of both Brandi Jean and Garrett Michael were attributed to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. But last year, John P. Smialek, the state's medical examiner, changed the cause of death for both children to smothering and ruled the manner of Garrett Michael's death was homicide. He changed Brandi Jean's manner of death from natural to undetermined causes.
After the sentencing, Wilson was taken directly to the Prince George's County detention center near Upper Marlboro, where he will remain until the Nov. 15 first-degree murder trial in the death of Brandi Jean.
CAPTION: Garrett Eldred Wilson faces another trial in Prince George's County.