Bentonville, Arkansas: May 15, 2018 81-year-old Ruby Ross lost her life in a brutal attack at the hands of her granddaughter Andrea Lea Wilson. Monday she pleaded guilty to charges of first degree murder and aggravated assault and battery.
As a part of the plea deal which had been worked out between her defense attorney Shane Wilkinson and the prosecutor Joshua Robinson the charge of capitol murder was dropped.
Wilson was sentenced to 36 years in prison with an additional 10 years suspended sentence once she is released. She will be eligible for parole after serving 19 years.
During the Zoom hearing on Monday, Wilson admitted to attempting to run over Jonathan Hampton as he rode his bike at approximately 1:42 am on May 15, 2018. Hampton was knocked from his bike and remembered her appearing as though she was angry and yelling inside the vehicle.
After her vehicle became lodged on a rock, Hampton stated "There was a second from one moment to the next when her posture and eyes changed." He said she then appeared normal and asked, "can you help me?"
Later that same day, Wilson went to her grandmother's home and ate dinner with Ross. After Ross went to sleep, Wilson is said to have entered her bedroom and struck the woman on the head with a hammer approximately four times.
Wilson then concealed the hammer in an out-building on the property.
Despite Wilson telling Benton County Circuit Court Judge Robin Green that she understood her rights and had not been coerced to enter a guilty plea during Monday's hearing, Wilson's mental health has been a looming question throughout the three years since the crime and was a major factor in prosecution agreeing to the plea deal.
Robinson told Green that Wilson had undergone numerous mental health evaluations during that time. Experts for both the prosecution and the defense evaluated her and were unable to agree as to whether or not she could understand the criminality of her actions and change her behavior.
During those mental health evaluations Wilson is said to have reported that she believed God had told her that she must offer a sacrifice or else she would be sent to Hell. She reported that she believed May 15, 2018 to be the final day on which she would be able to offer that sacrifice.
She also stated that at the time of the two crimes she was not taking her prescribed lithium.
Robinson explained that Wilson had tried to kill Hampton as that sacrifice, but then resorted to killing her grandmother to appease God.
"This case started out as a death penalty case, but it was always more complicated than it initially appeared," Wilkinson was quoted by Arkansas Online as saying. "Andrea has a history of mental illness combined with a terrible upbringing that has never truly been acknowledged. She is now on her medications and will remain that way when released."
Wilson is in custody at the Benton County Jail where she has been since June 18, 2018.