Man Charged with Wife's Murder: 'I'm Guilty'

West Columbia, SC (WLTX) - A West Columbia man charged with killing his wife made a stunning claim in a bond hearing Thursday: he's guilty.

Marion Wilkes, 73, made the statement when he appeared before a judge.

"I don't want any trial," Wilkes said. "I'm pleading guilty. I don't want any trial, any lawyer."

The judge went ahead and denied him bond. Despite his statement, Wilkes cannot enter a formal plea until he has a hearing in circuit court.

Marion and his son, 23-year-old Joseph Cody Wilkes, are both charged with killing 59-year-old Susan Wilkes. The coroner concluded she'd been stabbed to death.

Susan Wilkes had been reported missing on Saturday. At that time, officers said she hadn't been seen since she went out for a run last Thursday.

However, investigators say during questioning, the suspects' story was inconsistent. West Columbia Police Chief Dennis Tyndall says eventually, the suspects admitted something happened to the woman, and led investigators to her body, which was found in the backyard of a home in Little Mountain.

Tyndall believes the woman was killed in her home and kept in the garage for 10 days, and was then moved to that location. Investigators when they found Susan Wilkes's remains, they were wrapped in a tarp and buried, and had been left there for several days.

Tyndall described her husband as controlling, saying the woman didn't have many friends. The chief added that in his 30 years in law enforcement, he's never seen a suspect call and report someone as missing.

Both suspects are being held at the Lexington County Detention Center. Tyndall says he won't rule out that there could have been other accomplices.


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