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Death penalty suggested in case against airman facing murder charges

Jun. 28, 2014 - 06:00AM   |  
Senior Airman Charles Amos Wilson III
Senior Airman Charles Amos Wilson III (Houston County Detention Center)
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An Air Force investigating officer is recommending the death penalty for a Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, senior airman charged with killing his fiancée and unborn child.

Senior Airman Charles Amos Wilson III, a support team member with the 461st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron at Robins, was arrested in August and charged with killing his fiancée, Tameda Ferguson, and her unborn child. Ferguson was found shot to death at her home in Dawson, Georgia, about 100 miles south of Robins. She was 8½ months pregnant.

Investigating officer Col. William Muldoon recommends the death penalty in an Article 32 report completed May 29, senior defense counsel Maj. Will Babor told Air Force Times.

The report is being forwarded to the general court-martial convening authority, Lt. Gen. Bruce Litchfield, who will decide whether to refer the case to court-martial.

The defense has objected to the death penalty referral, Babor said.

“The defense is going to take every opportunity we can to ensure that this [case] is fully investigated and that airman Wilson is given all the rights afforded to him under the United States Constitution and the Uniform Code of Military Justice,” Babor said.

Wilson and his defense have not entered a plea, Babor said.

Babor said he is concerned that Wilson does not have a fully capable defense team.

“My concern is that I’m not a qualified death penalty lawyer. [Defense co-counsel] Capt. Adam Newsome and I are not qualified death penalty lawyers. To be frank, there’s no lawyer in the Air Force who’s qualified to defend airman Wilson,” Babor said, though he plans to see the case through.

The death penalty is rare in the military — most death sentences are overturned on appeal, and the last military execution occurred more than 50 years ago.

The Air Force last carried out the death penalty in 1954. Two airmen were executed for the rape and murder of a Guam citizen.

The Air Force is also handling charges against Wilson in two other cases that previously were being handled by civilian authorities.

Wilson faces arson and murder charges in connection with an October 2011 fire in his rental home that killed Demetrius Hardy, a civilian employee at Robins. Authorities believe Wilson and Hardy conspired to set fire to Wilson’s trailer to collect insurance money.

In July 2012, Wilson was arrested on firearm and threat charges after an Air Force technical sergeant said he drove toward her in a pickup truck in a threatening manner, dragged her by the hair, fired a gun from the window of his home at her and told her, “I’m going to make you die today.”

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