Woman charged with first degree murder in shooting death of boyfriend

Update on June 3, 2024: Wilks was acquitted of all charges by a jury on May 31, 2024.


Rachael Laniese Wilks, 29, was arrested yesterday afternoon and charged with first degree murder in the December 31 shooting death of her live-in boyfriend.

According to the arrest report, Wilks and the victim were in a dating relationship and lived together with Wilks’ four other children. She is 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.

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 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 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 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 denied knowing she had shot the victim and said she didn’t know why the forensic evidence did not match her story.

Wilks has been charged with first-degree premeditated murder.

Articles about arrests are based on reports from law enforcement agencies. The charges listed are taken from the arrest report and/or court records and are only accusations. All suspects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. 

  • My boy ain’t deserve this just because you own a gun don’t give you a right to take ANYONES life

    • Tell that to the brothers who be felons carrying
      Around guns acting like gangstas….they be arrresten
      Em all the time and lettem go…they be talking
      “10 20 life” for a brother walking around with a concealed weapon…

  • Seems she had no other choice but to defend herself. They should’ve removed him from the home.

    • They did…on a stretcher.

      BLM unless you are actually black.

    • You don’t even know the whole story keep your IGNORANT comments to yourself ! Can you not read?! She had no visible injuries she crazy and she getting what she deserves!

    • For one it’s her word against his n he’s now Dead… Forensic showed she was lying… She had no marks of abuse… Y’all need to read before you SPEAK!!

    • Actually she didn’t. There was never a dispute to begin with. Furthermore, if actually read the article you see where SHE refused to give them an address to remove him from. LLB

  • This is why we need low cost housing, deed restricted for owner occupant, single adults and NO couples or children. Even if it takes security fencing and log in entries. We already have similar housing for 55+ but they’re too old to have kids and ruin society, too. Politicians, lawyers, judges and probation industries want the status quo to go on. Guess why?

    • Jeff. How about personal responsibility and stop
      Trying to give free housing to the planet? I know your
      A commie. And free housing wouldn’t have stopped
      This woman from defending herself against an
      Abusive boyfriend. It sounds like self defense to me..
      The cops wouldn’t remove the abuser and said to
      Evict. It’s the cops fault for not removing the abusive
      Bum…poor thing was in fear for her life…I find her
      Innocent just from this article. Wish they pick me for
      The jury. They should release her now.

  • Couple things about this really irritate me. Now, we will have six kids with no daddy, no mama. We all know who will be paying for their wants/needs. I’m really tired of supporting those who consciously make poor decisions. Second, the report mentions “her search history…”. Does law enforcement have the right to dig into your/my internet search history without probable cause??? The court will hopefully find her guilty and never let her see the light of day.

  • Its a shame because she is very pretty who would attack something like that also she doesn’t have to have a physical injuries to be scared of her life if he verbally told her i am going to kill you is she supposed to wait to find out if he is going to do it or not She didn’t just out of the blue decided to kill a person she made baby with

  • I am not suggesting that she should not have been arrested but there are still many questions that will be answered at the trial and we shall see if its a self defense only time will tell

  • The biggest issue I have with this story, is the fact that she had four kids living with this guy. He was not their father. Why the hell would you allow someone to move in with to live with you that was not the father of the kids

    I wonder if the court system lowered the child support payments for the other father(s) since she was living with the guy. Maybe the courts only lower the payments if she marries someone. If that is the case, she could just keep having kids, never get married, get child support payments, possible WIC and EBT. I guess it’s a good gig if you can get it. She already has the next batch in the oven, so she didn’t need him anymore. But if she killed him, he can’t pay for the kids. So if she gets off for self defense, look out guys, she be looking for a new baby daddy

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