Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Possible Insanity Defense in Marijuana Murder Case

Posted By on Tue, Sep 2, 2014 at 4:23 PM

click to enlarge wilde.jpg
A 32-year-old Kneeland man appears to be exploring an insanity defense in the face of federal charges that he murdered one of the workers tending his marijuana farm in 2010.

Mikal Xylon Wilde’s attorney, the eccentric powerhouse J. Tony Serra, recently filed a motion advising the federal government that he “intends to introduce expert evidence relating to his mental condition bearing on the issue of guilt” at trial. In order to prevail with an insanity defense in federal court, Serra would have to present “clear and convincing evidence” that “at the time of the commission of the acts constituting the offense, the defendant, as a result of a severe mental disease or defect, was unable to appreciate the nature and quality or the wrongfulness of his acts,” under the Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984. Essentially, Serra would have to prove Wilde did not know right from wrong when he allegedly shot Mario Roberto Juarez-Madrid in the back, killing him, and wounded Fernando Lopez with a gunshot wound to the face when the two men attempted to quit working for him.

Just last week, in response to Serra’s motion, the U.S. Attorney’s Office asked the court to order an independent, third-party psychological evaluation of Wilde so prosecutors can prepare appropriately for whatever evidence regarding the defendant’s mental state might eventually be produced in February, when the case is scheduled to go to trial.

Wilde spent months considering taking a plea deal offered to him by the Federal government before reversing course in June, firing his public defender and hiring Serra to represent him.

According to evidence presented at a hearing to determine if there was enough evidence to hold Wilde to stand trial on a state murder charge in Humboldt County, Wilde was overseeing a grow operation it in Kneeland when he hired Juarez-Madrid and Lopez to tend to the plants. Reportedly beset by money problems, Wilde allegedly told the men he couldn’t afford fuel for the watering truck they had been using to irrigate the property. The men balked at having to traverse the garden’s hilly terrain with buckets to water the more than 1,500 marijuana plants, demanded to be paid for their work and taken home to the Sacramento area.

Wilde told the men he’d come back later in the day to pick them up and take them home, according to testimony at the hearing. But, when he returned the next day, he allegedly opened fire with a handgun.

Having pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy to manufacture and distribute more than 1,000 marijuana plants, committing murder during a narcotics offense and being a felon in possession of a firearm, Wilde potentially faces life in federal prison if convicted on all charges.
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Thadeus Greenson

Thadeus Greenson is the news editor of the North Coast Journal.

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