Linda Ann Wilborn Guilty of Killing Her Baby and Bashing in Head of Baby's Twin
Linda Ann Wilborn, a 34-year-old Army wife who matter-of-factly talked with her husband about God chatting them up as police investigated the death of their baby girl and serious wounding of her twin brother, was convicted today of murder, assault and child abuse charges.
A mistrial was declared in June when Judge Richard Toohey granted the defense attorney's request for more time to examine key evidence.
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The murderer's husband, Derrick Wilborn, was a sergeant first class stationed at the Los Angeles Medical Recruiting Command in Long Beach at the time of the crimes. Linda Wilborn had caught the attention of Social Services in 2008 for leaving her then-four-month-old daughter Millicent and her twin brother alone in a car.
The Mrs. called 9-1-1 the afternoon of Dec. 17, 2009, to report the by-then 23-month-old girl was not breathing. Several incorrect addresses were given to the dispatcher, who eventually figured out where to send responders based on GPS coordinates: base housing at the Seal Beach Naval Weapons Station.
Seal Beach Police arrived to find little Millicent lying without a pulse on the floor of a back bedroom. She had bruising on her chest that her mother blamed on roughhousing.
When Derrick Wilborn arrived home, a police officer told him that an ambulance had just taken Millicent to the hospital, prompting the father to reply, "What else can go wrong?" before walking into the home, ignoring his wife and cutting open a box containing three golf clubs. He explained to the cop, "Building golf clubs relaxes me."
When officers asked the couple about gnaw marks observed on a bedroom door jamb, the couple responded that their children would also eat carpet and paint chips peeled from walls.
Police managed to get the couple to join then at Los Alamitos Medical Center, where a doctor informed them Millicent had died. After about 15 seconds of silence, Linda Wilborn cried out loud for about a minute, the same amount of time her husband quietly sobbed. An investigating detective then left them alone--with his audio recorder running.
The bizarre recording had Linda saying such things to her husband as "I don't know what God is telling me" and "If you knew he told you I was gonna do something, you should have told me something." Derrick Wilborn is heard telling his wife God had told him Millicent was dead. "When I was driving on the road, he told me. . . . I didn't know what was going on, because I thought I was hearing the wrong voice."
The couple's surviving children were quickly taken into protective custody. In fact, Linda Wilborn was first arrested by Seal Beach police at a Child Protective Services visit.
Derrick was court martialed and convicted by a panel of officers at Fort Irwin on counts of negligent homicide, child endangerment by culpable negligence resulting in bodily harm and child endangerment by culpable negligence resulting in grievous bodily harm. He was sentenced to 90 days of detainment.
During his military hearing, Derrick blamed his daughter's death on his wife.
Linda's mistrial hinged on medical evidence that helped the prosecution theory that the mother squeezed Millicent's chest so tightly it ultimately killed her. That was based on an article that was published a couple years after Mrs. Wilborn was arrested, so the defense claimed it could not properly be examined nor could its author be cross-examined. Toohey agreed, and a new trial date was set.
The jury today agreed with Senior Deputy District Attorney Scott Simmons, who had told them that with her other three children alone with her in their base home, Linda Wilborn "inflicted tremendous blunt force trauma to Millicent's stomach." An examination showed she had fresh and old rib injuries as well. Meanwhile, an examination of her twin brother showed he had previously suffered a fractured skull. The other two children showed no signs of injuries.
Wilborn was found guilty of one felony count of second degree murder, one felony count of assault on a child with force likely to produce great bodily injury resulting in death, and two felony counts of child abuse.
She could get up to 25 years to life in state prison at her Dec. 7 sentencing hearing in Santa Ana.
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