Wilkerson appeals life sentence in Heacook murder

DOJ confident in the strength of state's position
February 29, 2024

The man found guilty of killing Delmar police officer Cpl. Keith Heacook in April 2021 is appealing his conviction on 16 charges, including first-degree murder, to Delaware Supreme Court.

Randon Wilkerson, 32, was given two life sentences plus 212 years in prison in December after he was found guilty of Heacook’s murder. An appeal was always part of the legal strategy of Wilkerson’s attorney, Patrick Collins.

In October, Wilkerson elected to have a bench trial, with evidence and verdict determined by a judge instead of a jury. This was due, in part, to the evidence against him and to move forward with an appeal faster. That meant there was no eyewitness testimony from the stand and little physical evidence presented during the trial, overseen by Judge Craig Karznitz.

Mat Marshall, spokesman for Delaware Department of Justice, said, “While we regret that Cpl. Heacook’s family and fellow officers have to continue watching this play out in the courts, we are also completely confident in the strength of the state's position, the Superior Court’s ruling, and the conviction.”

During the trial, Karsnitz entered two pieces of evidence: a statement of the facts as agreed on by Deputy Attorney General David Hume and Collins, and a 17-minute body cam video.

According to the agreed-upon facts, Heacook responded alone to the home of Charles Meagher, where Wilkerson had been staying with six other people. According to Wilkerson’s housemates, he had taken methamphetamine, crack cocaine and heroin, and he had also been drinking because it was his birthday. Wilkerson had argued with his girlfriend and, at one point, assaulted her. Wilkerson had been behaving erratically and turned violent, throwing a 10-pound dumbbell at one roommate’s door, and he had fought with Meagher.

When Heacook entered the house, Wilkerson assaulted him with a dumbbell and, later, Heacook’s police baton. Heacook was pronounced dead from injuries sustained in the assault. Wilkerson then went to the nearby home of Steve and Judy Franklin, claiming that someone had been raped at his house. Unprovoked, Wilkerson attacked them with a porcelain figurine. For reasons unknown, Wilkerson stopped his assault and left the home. 

Body camera footage shown at the trial shows responding officers finding Heacook facedown on the floor. 

Wilkerson was taken to Delaware State Police Troop 5 in Bridgeville. During his time in custody, police overheard Wilkerson say, “I beat the cop in the head. I smashed his head.” A digital recorder was placed near the holding area where Wilkerson was detained. On the tape, which was not played in court, Wilkerson said he smashed Heacook over the head with a weight. Later, while waiting for arraignment with a justice of the peace, Wilkerson admitted in front of a police officer that he killed “that police officer that walked in the house.”

Later investigation found Wilkerson’s DNA on Heacook’s baton and notepad, and at the Franklins’ house.


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