Man Admits to Stabbing Teen in Elm Grove
WHEELING — A victim’s mother denounced a man charged with violently robbing her 15-year-old last year by stabbing him in the back after the man pleaded guilty Tuesday to a lesser offense.
Daniel Lee Wilson, 26, rocked anxiously in his seat before his plea hearing before Circuit Judge David Sims. His attorney, Kevin Neiswonger, informed Sims that Wilson had reconsidered and decided to reject the plea agreement, which was worked out last week between Wilson and assistant prosecutor Brian Ghaphery. However, following a brief discussion behind closed doors, Wilson agreed to a revised plea deal.
Wilson was indicted in January for one count of robbery and two counts of malicious assault for the Nov. 5 robbery of a teenager on near Bridge Street School, where Wilson stabbed the victim through the back and arm. The stabbing caused a punctured lung. He also attempted to take the victim’s phone and bicycle while brandishing an airsoft gun. The victim fell into a coma but has since recovered. Wilson did not dispute any facts of the case.
Under the agreement, he instead pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful assault, which carries a one-to-five year sentence, rather than the two-to-10 years he faced for his original indictments.
Wilson was unwilling to take the plea agreement as it was presented Tuesday morning, which prompted the renegotiation. Ghaphery agreed to have the state stand silent after six months of incarceration when Wilson can petition the court to reduce his sentence. Neiswonger said Wilson sought a guarantee that he’d be released, which Sims declined.
“There’s no guarantee, because that’s entirely at my discretion,” Sims said. “I will consider it, but I won’t give him any guarantee that I’ll grant it.”
The victim’s mother, who Ghaphery said was involved in approving the plea deal offered to Wilson, addressed the court after his plea, asking that Sims enforce the maximum sentence for her son’s attacker.
“It bothers me that the defendant can do what he did to my son and cause the damage that he did and yet be sentenced to only one-to-five years,” she said. “The knife shoved so deep in his back that it cut his diaphragm, and had to be repaired in surgery where he had his guts removed from his abdomen, his bowels run through a doctor’s hands and put back together. All parents here share the same fear of receiving a phone call, saying ‘Your child has been in an accident.’ I got that phone call Nov. 5, 2017. … But it happens, and this was not an accident.”
Wilson, who spoke in a quiet, hoarse whisper, apologized to Sims and to the mother on two occasions.
“I feel terrible about what happened,” he said, motioning to the mother.