Missouri teen sentenced to 60 years in guardian's death

Tuesday, August 24, 2010 | 2:32 p.m. CDT

CAPE GIRARDEAU — A southeast Missouri teenager has been sentenced to 60 years in prison for the death of a cousin who was his guardian.

John W. Wilfong, 18, of Patton, was sentenced Monday for the Dec. 30, 2008, death of 48-year-old Pamela Ackman, the Southeast Missourian reported. Wilfong had pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and armed criminal action for shooting Ackman at her home in Bollinger County.

Wilfong was living with Ackman and her husband when the shooting occurred. The case drew significant attention because Wilfong and his 9-year-old foster brother were missing when authorities arrived after the shooting, prompting an Amber Alert and a massive search.

The boys were discovered the next day at a relative's home near Marble Hill. They were then taken into custody, with Wilfong accused in the fatal shooting. A motive was not released.

Authorities said after Wilfong's arrest that he planned the killing. He had the younger boy watch from a bedroom window to let him know when Ackman arrived home, and then he shot her with a rifle, police said. Ackman was shot several times in the head.

Wilfong was originally charged with first-degree murder but pleaded guilty to the lesser charge in June.

Mickey Ackman, the victim's husband, found his wife dead in the kitchen. He spoke at the sentencing hearing Monday.

"He basically let (Wilfong) know how many other people he had hurt that day," Bollinger County prosecutor Stephen Gray said.

Wilfong was sentenced to 30 years for each charge, to be served consecutively. He could be eligible for parole in just under 30 years.

Wilfong's father, Henry Wilfong, was charged with murder in Wayne County in 2002 and was living at Fulton State Hospital after the court found him mentally incapable of standing trial.


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