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State Attorney announces Grand Jury indictment of Rachael Wilks for first degree murder

BY JENNIFER CABRERA

State Attorney Brian Kramer announced today that Assistant State Attorney Ryan Nagel presented “State vs. Rachael Laniese Wilks” to the Alachua County Spring Term Grand Jury, and the Citizens of Alachua County returned a True Bill indicting Wilks for first degree murder in the killing of Brian Rashad Brown on December 31, 2021. Wilks was arrested on February 1, 2022, after a Gainesville Police Department investigation.

The finding of a True Bill means that Wilks will now be arraigned and will face trial at a later date. Judge Meshon T. Rawls received the grand jury findings and ruled that Wilks will continue to be held without bail.

According to the arrest report, Wilks and the victim were in a dating relationship and lived together with Wilks’ four other children. She was also reportedly pregnant with twins, with the victim as the father.

Wilks had called the non-emergency dispatch line at 9:00 p.m. on December 31, 2021, and asked to speak to an officer about removing someone from her residence. She reportedly refused to provide the address or give details. An officer told her she would need to evict the person because he had established residence there, and her search history about an hour later reportedly showed her searching for “eviction cost gainesville fl.”

At about 11:45 p.m. on December 31, Wilks called 911 while driving to her parents’ house to drop off her children. She told dispatchers that she had “discharged her weapon in self-defense” after her boyfriend had repeatedly attacked her. She said she did not know if her boyfriend was injured and asked for emergency medical services to check on him.

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Upon arrival, Gainesville Police Department officers found the victim deceased and face down in a pool of blood, with a single gunshot wound to the right temple. He was lying on top of his phone.

Post Miranda, Wilks reportedly initially stated that she and the victim had been in an ongoing verbal and physical altercation since the previous night (December 30). She described a long history of domestic violence in which her boyfriend repeatedly struck her and threatened her life. She said she had taken her gun from her purse after being shoved into closet doors and then pinned down on the bed. She reportedly told officers that she told the victim she would call the police if he didn’t leave the house. He refused to leave, and, according to Wilks, said he would kill her and her unborn children before police could arrive. She reportedly said she charged across the room at the victim, closed her eyes, and fired the gun at him. She said she fled the room without looking back and left the house with her children.

Officers reported that Wilks did not have any injuries consistent with her account of physical abuse, and there was no history of calls regarding domestic violence between the two.

The report notes that forensic evidence at the scene was inconsistent with Wilks’ story, including blood spatter and the location of the wound. There was a downward angle from the entrance wound to where the bullet was located at the base of the skull, which was not consistent with her story that the victim was standing and moving toward her. The angle is consistent with the victim kneeling or being below Wilks when he was shot.

In a second post-Miranda interview on February 1, Wilks reportedly changed her story multiple times from the first interview. For example, she reportedly told officers that when the victim saw her gun, he knelt down to pick up his phone, with his back to her. She said he began to turn toward her and said he would kill her, and then she shot him and fled the house. She admitted to being frustrated that the victim would not leave the house. However, she also reportedly denied knowing she had shot the victim and said she didn’t know why the forensic evidence did not match her story.

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