Jury to decide Ole Miss student killer’s fate today

Published 9:21 am Thursday, February 15, 2018

OXFORD, Miss. (AP) — The man who fatally shot an Ole Miss graduate student in 2013 has been convicted of capital murder.

The Oxford Eagle reports Steven “Matt” Wilbanks was found guilty by a 12-person jury Tuesday for the slaying of Zacharias Hercules McClendon. The jury was scheduled to deliberate Thursday morning to decide if Wilbanks will spend the rest of his life in prison or be executed.

The state says Wilibanks, along with Joseph Lyons and Derrick Boone, entered McClendon’s apartment on Dec. 18, 2013, and shot him in the back of the head with a 16-gauge shotgun while McClendon was washing dishes.

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In an audio clip played on Monday, Wilibanks admits to shooting McClendon with the gun he bought at a Hattiesburg gun show for $8 so he could steal from McClendon.

Lyons and Boone have already pleaded guilty under a deal that gave them life sentences. Court will reconvene Wednesday morning to sentence Wilibanks.