Felicity man sentenced for second murder in spree killing


by Aaron Gibson, March 28, 2016

A Brown County man convicted in a double-murder killing spree in Ohio and Kentucky was sentenced Monday, March 28 to life plus 25 years for the shooting death of Elsmere man Zachary Gilkison.

Michael Wilcox allegedly used a .45 caliber handgun to murder his girlfriend Courtney Fowler at his home near Feesburg on April 16, 2015. Wilcox then on the same day allegedly murdered Zachary Gilkison, a close friend, with the same handgun at Gilkison’s home in Elsmere, Kentucky.

Wilcox pleaded guilty in February in Kenton County Circuit Court to charges of murder, robbery and tampering with physical evidence for the murder of Gilkison. He is already serving 18 years to life in prison for the murder of Fowler.

Now, Wilcox is officially slated to spend the rest of his life in prison. He received a life sentence plus 25 years for Gilkison’s murder to run concurrent with sentences of 20 years for robbery and five years for tampering with evidence, according to court documents.

The family of Gilkison spoke to Wilcox at his sentencing before the final murder case drew to a close.

On April 16, 2015, Fowler’s body was discovered by Wilcox’s mother at about 6:30 p.m. at a home on J Bolender Rd, Lewis Township. Fowler was allegedly shot twice by Wilcox in the head and back.

Wilcox then allegedly crossed the Ohio River into Kentucky and shot Gilkison several times from behind in Gilkison’s basement in Elsmere.

Buddy Coburn, an investigator with the Brown County Prosecutor’s Office, spotted Wilcox less than two hours after Fowler’s body was discovered and attempted to confront Wilcox outside of a restaurant in western Brown County.

According to Coburn, Wilcox allegedly dragged him when he reached his arm into Wilcox’s 2009 Subaru in an attempt to stop the murder suspect from fleeing.


Screengrab from body camera footage appearing to show Wilcox run toward police officer Jesse  Kidder

Wilcox allegedly sped off and took police on a chase through Brown, Clermont and Hamilton counties. Police said Wilcox sped on US-52 through Clermont County and into Anderson Township in Hamilton County, where the pursuit ended with Wilcox allegedly attempting a suicide-by-cop.

Footage from a body camera worn by New Richmond police officer Jesse Kidder appears to show Wilcox yelling “shoot me” as Kidder steps backward with his gun drawn.

Friends of Gilkison saw the news of Wilcox’s arrest on television that night and became concerned. Police then discovered the body of Gilkison after the friends arrived to check on him.


Court documents show Wilcox allegedly confessed to the murder of Fowler near the time Gilkison was discovered. He was quoted by investigators as saying he was listening to music when it began “telling him to do something crazy,” according to an affidavit filed in Brown County Municipal Court.

Commonwealth prosecutors Rob Sanders and Emily Arnzen denied Wilcox’s claims, saying he is faking mental illness, and recommended the judge hand him a life sentence for the murder of Gilkison.

In the Fowler case, Wilcox had pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity until Wilcox was ruled competent to stand trial.

Sentenced already to a minimum of 18 years in prison for the Fowler murder, Wilcox’s first parole hearing in Ohio is set for Feb. 2033.

If Wilcox is ever paroled in Ohio, he will serve his sentence in Kentucky.

Brown County Crime Reporter, March 28, 2016 12:18 PM EST

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