December 27, 1986
Tyler, Texas
James Joseph Wilkens shoots his former girlfriend as well as her son and new boyfriend

Wilkens and Sandra Williams (20) had dated and lived together for a short time, though their relationship dissolved after Wilkens showed jealousy over Williams’ attention to her son, Larry McMillan Jr. (4). After Wilkens and Williams discontinued their relationship, Williams began seeing Richard Wood (28).

Williams, Wood, and McMillan spent Christmas together in Oklahoma. When they arrived home, Williams placed McMillan on the couch and went to the restroom while Wood continued to unload the car. Wilkens had broken into the home and confronted Williams as she approached the restroom. She screamed at the sight of Wilkens holding a .22-caliber rifle and attempted to flee. Wood told Williams to get help and was fatally shot in the head.

As Williams exited the door, she was shot in the back. She turned to look at her son, who was crying on the couch, before Wilkens shot at her two or three more times. She held her breath and feigned death in hopes Wilkens would leave. Williams then heard several shots, and afterward could no longer hear her son’s cries. She lost consciousness and awoke in the hospital to learn Wood and McMillan were killed. Her 4-year-old son had been shot 13 times.

Wilkens was found guilty in 1989 and executed by lethal injection on July 11, 2001. His final statement were directed to the families of his victims, asking for their forgiveness.


  • “James Joseph Wilkens Jr.” Office of the Clark County Prosecuting Attorney. Accessed: December 27, 2018.
  • Graczyk, Michael. “Parolee condemned for killing man, child executed.” The Monitor [McAllen, Texas]. July 12, 2001
  • “Court upholds convictions of three death row inmates.” Victoria Advocate. November 16, 1995

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