November 14, 1998
Oceanside, California
9-year-old Matthew Cecchi is murdered in a public restroom by Brandon Wilson (20)

Matthew had been escorted by his aunt to the restroom, and she waited outside for him. Wilson entered after, sliced Matthew’s throat, and stabbed him in the back five times without making a sound. He then passed by Matthew’s aunt again on his way out. Shortly after, she checked on Matthew and discovered he had been killed.

Wilson was arrested two days later after he stabbed a woman during a purse-snatching. He admitted to police he had also killed Matthew, and Matthew’s aunt positively identified him as the man she had seen that day.

Wilson told investigators he believed he had been chosen by God to expedite the end of the world. He claimed he chose Matthew as opposed to older victims because “when you offer a sacrifice, it’s supposed to be a lamb, pure, without blemish.”

At trial, Wilson requested to be executed. The jury returned from a 5-hour deliberation with a guilty verdict and a recommendation for death. The judge agreed. Before the execution could be carried out, however, Wilson hanged himself on November 17, 2001 in his death row cell.


  • “Condemned Inmate Brandon Wilson Dies of Suicide.” California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation. November 17, 2011. Accessed: November 14, 1998.
  • “Jury recommends death for child killer from Wisconsin.” The Post-Crescent [Appleton, Wisconsin]. October 7, 1999
  • “State native sentenced for murder.” Leader-Telegram [Eau Claire, Wisconsin]. November 5, 1999
  • Perry, Tony “Drifter Testifies God Led Him to Kill Boy, 9.” The Los Angeles Times [Los Angeles, California]. September 22, 1999
  • Frerking, Beth. “Slaying of boy by stranger puts many parents on guard.” The Atlanta Constitution [Atlanta, Georgia]. November 29, 1998
  • “Drifter will be evaluated.” Chippewa Herald [Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin]. November 25, 1998

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