Damoine Wilcoxson will serve 65 years in prison for gunning down 82-year-old John Clements while Clements was at home caring for his wife in September 2016.
Wilcoxson, 23, was found guilty for the September 2016 murder during a two-day bench trial in March. His first sentencing hearing last month was cut short when his attorney failed to appear at the proceedings. The sentencing hearing was then reset to the end of April, but last week was moved up to April 18.
He is already serving time in Marion County for unrelated crimes committed in the weeks following Clements' murder.
Wilcoxson shot Clements with a semi-automatic rifle in the middle of the day, Sept. 28, 2016, when Clements went out to get his mail, but remained at-large for several weeks after. He gained law enforcement’s attention when he was accused of firing shots at the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department northwest headquarters Oct. 4, 2016, and at the IMPD north headquarters Oct. 13, 2016. Wilcoxson also fired shots at police arresting him Oct. 31, 2016. Spent shell casings found at the three Indianapolis shootings and at the Zionsville murder site were all fired from the gun Wilcoxson had when arrested, forensic evidence showed. DNA tests and other evidence also led to Wilcoxson, police determined.
Wilcoxson was convicted in 2017 in Marion County for the shootings at the IMPD headquarters and was sentenced to 35 years with the Indiana Department of Corrections. He is appealing.
In the Boone County murder case, the minimum sentence could have been 45 years, with a standard sentence of 55 years.
Boone Superior Court I Judge Matthew Kincaid said several aggravating circumstances — including Wilcoxson's criminal history, and known racial hatred — factored into the maximum sentence of 65 years.
Prior to sentencing, Boone County Deputy Prosecutor T.K. Morris read aloud a letter written by the victim's three sons, David, Neal and Scott Clements.
The letter said Clements and his wife, Carole, had dated in high school and had been married for more than 60 years. Their mother was in the early stages of dementia, and the care provided to her by their father allowed her to stay in the home.
On Sept. 28, 2016, "She fell asleep in her recliner, and when she woke up her world was forever changed," the letter said.
The couple had lived in the home for 47 years, and after Clements' death, Carole Clements had to be moved to a nursing facility.
The letter said that now, more than two years later, she is still confused about where she is and why she is there.
Wilcoxson did not make a statement.
In final arguments, Morris asked Kincaid to consider numerous aggravators in determining the sentence. Morris said the harm and injury were greater than necessary for the commission of the crime.
"It was not a single shot. He (Clements) was hit multiple times," Morris said.
Morris also noted that Wilcoxson's history of criminal behavior should add to the sentence, starting with handgun charges as a juvenile, and then with drug and attempted murder charges as an adult. He also said that by committing the murder in a neighborhood, Wilcoxson exposed at least one minor to the crime, which can be considered as an aggravator. Morris also said Wilcoxson was in violation of his probation and parole when he committed the crime.
Morris said that the only mitigating circumstance that the judge might consider was that Wilcoxson's imprisonment could cause a hardship on his children.
"But it's the state's opinion that this isn't the type of person who should be around children," Morris said. "This is a truly despicable act with a truly innocent victim. It's the middle of the day and the victim was home. He was walking up his driveway when he was gunned down by the defendant."
Morris also asked for the sentence to run consecutive to the one Wilcoxson is presently serving in Marion County.
"Any other sentence minimizes what happened here in Boone County," he said.
Defense Attorney Michael Gross said that undue hardship on Wilcoxson's children should be considered as a mitigating factor.
Gross said the mother of Wilcoxson's children takes them to visit him at Pendelton Correctional Facility as often as she can; that his mother visits, too, and that he has three sisters with whom he's close.
"He says his family is very tight and very loving," Gross said.
Gross also said that Wilcoxson is taking advantage of his time in prison to improve his literacy and to work toward a high school diploma, as well as participating in a fatherhood program.
"He is using his jail time wisely," Gross said.
Gross argued that Wilcoxson did not cause greater injury or suffering necessary to commit the offense, and that an infant in a home near the murder scene did not fulfill the requirement for exposing a minor to the crime.
"The infant was in the home and in no way, shape or form did the baby witness anything in any real sense," Gross said.
Gross also asked for the sentence to be served concurrent with the Marion County sentence.
Kincaid returned and announced a 65-year consecutive sentence.
He said aggravators that weighed heavily included Wilcoxson's criminal history as a juvenile as well as an adult, that Wilcoxson was in violation of his probation on a 2015 cocaine arrest, and that Clements' death caused greater than ordinary harm to his wife.
"Mr. Clements was everything to his wife," he said.
Kincaid added that Wilcoxson, who is black, "harbors and espouses hatred," illustrated by notes he left at the scenes of the Marion County crimes and via social media posts, and that Kincaid believes that Wilcoxson would be likely to reoffend.
Kincaid said of the possible mitigating circumstances — undue hardship on his family — that Wilcoxson is not presently financially contributing to them, and that even with the most conservative sentence, his children will grow up with an imprisoned father, and that past actions show he has little regard for their safety.
Kincaid said he also considered Wilcoxson's young age — he was 21 when he committed the murder — but that the prior juvenile and criminal charges and his continued violent acts following Clements' murder outweighed that consideration. The judge noted that Wilcoxson went on to commit the acts of attempted murder following Clements' murder, and that he has never accepted responsibility for killing Clements.
As for making the sentence consecutive to the Marion County sentence, Kincaid said the crimes had different victims in separate districts, and to run them consecutively would be "unacceptable and contrary to civil law."