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Jury finds Wilder guilty of aggravated murder

Archie Wilder showed no emotion when a jury convicted him last night of fatally shooting a man while the victim was sitting in a car outside his girlfriend's house.

Wilder, 27, of 2201 Academy Dr. was found guilty of aggravated murder and using a gun to kill Richard Lamonte Phillips. He faces a life sentence with the possibility of parole after 23 years when Judge Ruth Ann Franks sentences him Aug. 24.

He also faces the rest of a seven to 25-year sentence for a 1991 involuntary manslaughter conviction. He served about eight years before he was paroled in 1999.

“In my opinion, he's the kind of guy that really needs to be off the streets for a long time,'' said Robert Clark, an assistant county prosecutor. “He has a prior violent history, and he did a bad thing here.''

Nicholas Conner, Wilder's co-defendant, testified during the trial that Wilder shot Mr. Phillips, 31, of Michigan Street around 4:10 a.m. Feb. 3 outside the Franklin Avenue home of Mr. Phillips' girlfriend.

He said Wilder committed the crime because Mr. Phillips and another man beat up Mr. Conner hours before at an after-hours club. Mr. Conner also testified that Wilder held a grudge against Mr. Phillips because of a bad drug deal.

Timothy Westrick, an assistant county prosecutor who also tried the case, said Mr. Conner's testimony was crucial because he was the only witness.

“It was quite some time before Nick Conner laid it on the line about what happened that night,'' Mr. Westrick said.

In exchange for testimony, prosecutors have agreed to drop an aggravated murder charge against Mr. Conner. Instead, he will enter a plea to felonious assault.

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