Supreme court places stay on execution of Youngstown killer

COLUMBUS — The Ohio Supreme Court announced Thursday that it is placing a stay on the execution of Willie G. Wilks Jr. of Youngstown while appeals in the case are heard.

Wilks, 48, is on death row for aggravated murder and attempted aggravated murder for the May 2013 killing of 20-year-old Ororo Wilkins and attempted murder of Alexander Morales Jr.

Wilks is seeking to overturn his convictions and death sentence, arguing that the evidence wasn’t sufficient for a jury to find him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

He also claims that no forensic or scientific evidence, including DNA or ballistics, linked him to the crimes and the murder weapon was never recovered.

A May 18, 2022, execution date is set for Wilks.

His lawyer filed a motion in the Ohio Supreme Court saying that a petition for post-conviction relief filed five years ago has yet to be ruled on in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court.

Wilkins was sitting on the front porch of her brother’s Park Avenue home with her infant on the afternoon of May 21, 2013. Morales was holding the baby when a man with a gun approached the porch and asked where he could find Wilkins’ brother.

Morales has said that as he turned to go into the house, the man shot him. Wilkins tried to grab the infant, Morales said, and the man shot her once in the head, killing her.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)