Grand jury hands down capital murder indictments after missing Waco man’s body found in creek near Baylor
WACO, Texas (KWTX) - A McLennan County grand jury on Thursday indicted Brandon Xavier Stephens and James Keylan Willis for capital murder; and Alijah Veshawn Benson on a charge of aggravated robbery, in the case of Stanley Wilcox, a missing Waco man whose body was found in a creek near the Baylor University campus.
The 59-year-old Wilcox was reported missing Dec. 29, 2022, and his remains were found in a creek bed in the 1100 block of 9th Street near the college campus shortly before 9 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 6.
Waco police announced Benson, 19, was arrested on Jan. 27 for aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon and tampering with evidence in the murder of Wilcox.
Special Crimes Detectives learned the capital murder suspects in the case - the 18-year-old Willis, and 19-year-old Stephens - arrived near the 300 Block of W. Kiest Boulevard in Dallas on Dec. 22, 2022, and received a handgun from Benson.
The gun was allegedly used for the “planned robbery against” Wilcox, police said. “In exchange for lending the firearm, Benson was to receive financial gain after the robbery was completed. The handgun was returned to Benson, after the murder of Wilcox.”
After they were arrested the night of Jan. 6, Willis and Stephens allegedly told detectives Wilcox was wounded by gunfire during an argument inside his home and they decided they should “put him out of his misery,” the arrest affidavit claims.
The affidavit further states an investigator obtained Wilcox’s cell phone after it was turned in by a homeless woman at a convenience store.
The investigator later visited a gym frequented by Wilcox and was told by the staff that Wilcox “had not been to the gym in over 10 days, which was highly uncharacteristic even despite the Christmas holiday,” the affidavit states.
When detectives visited Wilcox’s home at 802 Garrett Avenue, they encountered three individuals, identified in affidavits as Willis, Stephens and 17-year-old Heavyn Hamilton, “living in the house.”
Willis initially told detectives that Wilcox left the residence at around Christmas Eve and left his keys with him. He would later consent to police searching the home.
While in the residence, the investigator “observed suspicious circumstances: Stanley’s bedroom bed was stripped of the bed sheets, there was glass near the threshold of their door, Stanley’s identification and debit card were in the living room in odd location and many other issues that required explanations.”
Potential evidence, including tools, a knife, Wilcox’s personal papers, packaging tools and cleaning products, were found by the investigator, the affidavit further states.
A search of Wilcox’s vehicle allegedly revealed “a large amount of blood that was cleaned up in the trunk area of the car,” the affidavit states.
The investigators were granted a search warrant for the property and all three individuals living in the home allegedly agreed to speak with detectives.
Stephens and Willis both allegedly admitted to “being present for and taking active roles in the shooting death of Stanley Wilcox,” the affidavit states.
Furthermore, both men allegedly told detectives Wilcox’s body was wrapped in bed sheets and later abandoned in the creek near the Baylor University campus.
The affidavits further reveal Stephens and Willis both said Wilcox was shot after a confrontation led to a “gunshot being discharged.”
Stephens and Wilcox are being held at the McLennan County Jail on a $1.5 million bond.
Hamilton, who allegedly admitted to knowing about the murder, was charged with failing to report a felony.
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