Waco, Tx (FOX44) – A McLennan County Grand Jury has returned capital murder indictments against two 19-year-old men in the death of a man whose body was found in a ravine early this year. A third man was indicted on aggravated robbery charges in the same case.
Brandon Xavier Stephens and James Keylan Willis were named in the capital murder indictments, and have remained in the McLennan County Jail under $1.5 million bonds since being arrested. Alijah Veshawn Benson was named in the aggravated robbery indictment for his part in supplying the weapon used to shoot the victim, with the expectation that he would receive some of the proceeds from the robbery.
Waco Police received a missing person report for 59-year-old Stanley Wilcox on December 29th, 2022. The next day, a homeless woman found his cell phone and turned it in at a convenience store.
Detectives also discovered that Wilcox had not visited his gym for ten days, which they were told was highly unusual for him – even in the middle of the holiday season.
Officers went to Wilcox’s house on Garrett Avenue and spoke with the three people who shared the home with him – including Willis, Stephens and Heavyn Hamilton.
According to an arrest affidavit, Willis told investigators that Wilcox left the home without his car around Christmas Eve. Willis reportedly allowed investigators in the home, and they noticed that Wilcox’s ID and debit card were in the living room.
Investigators also noticed a car spare tire left next to the front porch of the home. According to the affidavit, Willis said he emptied the back of a white 2021 Ford Escape with North Carolina license plates so he could load up camping equipment. Investigators also found tools, a knife, cleaning products and Wilcox’s personal papers outside the vehicle.
Investigators obtained a search warrant for the Escape, and say they discovered indications that someone tried to clean up a large amount of blood in the trunk area.
During a search of the home on January 6, 2023, detectives interviewed the three people. The affidavit states that Willis and Stephens admitted to shooting Wilcox, cleaning the crime scene, and dropping his body in a ravine near South 9th Street and the Interstate 35 northbound access road.
In the affidavit, Willis and Stephens told investigators they got into a confrontation with Wilcox and he was shot. They reportedly told police that they decided to “put him out of his misery” after the shooting.
Special Crimes Detectives discovered that the suspects in the murder had gone to the 300 block of West Kiest Boulevard in Dallas around 2:31 a.m. on December 22 and received a handgun from Benson to use in a planned robbery of Wilcox. In exchange for lending the firearm, Benson was to receive financial gain after the robbery was completed.
Police said the handgun was returned to Benson after the murder.
Heavyn Hamilton admitted to knowing about the murder, but was not placed at the immediate scene or connected to any involvement in clean-up or disposal of the body. She is accused of failing to report a felony.