Wilson Denied Pretrial Release for Murder Case in Written Order Filed Wednesday

By Benjamin Cox on February 15, 2024 at 10:12am

A visiting Macoupin County Judge has denied a Jacksonville man pretrial release in a first degree murder case in Morgan County.

Visiting Circuit Judge Kenneth Diehl issued a written order yesterday to deny 40-year old Joshua Wilson pretrial release under the new provisions of the SAFE-T Act. Wilson was previously held under the old cash bond system and petitioned under the new system at a hearing on February 5th.

Assistant Morgan County State’s Attorney Chad Turner argued at the February 5th hearing that Wilson should be denied the release due to the severity of the crime, a prior violent criminal history, and that there was no way for the court to place Wilson in a situation outside of confinement that could limit his ability to commit another violent offense.

Public Defender Devin Vaughn argued that Wilson, if allowed, would be placed on ankle monitoring and live with a family member in Springfield and that the state’s arguments about Wilson’s criminal history came from crimes that were committed more than two decades ago in some instances. Wilson was currently under pretrial release conditions on traffic offenses at the time of the shooting death of Malcolm Fitts in the parking lot of the Turner Hi-Rise in February 2021.

In the written order filed yesterday by Judge Diehl, he wrote that due to the nature of the offense and due to the use of firearm involved that Wilson should be detained. Diehl’s order also noted Wilson’s prior criminal history being “violent, abusive, or assaultive behavior” and that Wilson was on pretrial release for multiple matters at the time of the murder.

Wilson will return to Morgan County Court for a jury pretrial conference, as well as any further procedural motions on March 15th, with a tentative trial date set for April 23rd.