1. Archive

Sexton son is ruled competent to face murder trial

Published Oct. 1, 2005

After two years in the Florida State Mental Hospital, a son of the infamous Sexton family of Ohio has been judged competent to stand trial on a charge that he strangled his brother-in-law on orders from his father.

If convicted, Willie Sexton, 26, could join his father, Eddie Lee Sexton, on death row.

A pale Willie Sexton stood next to his attorney in court Monday and stared downward as two doctors who had found him incompetent in 1994 told the judge he is now competent to face a first-degree murder trial.

Doctors credited large doses of anti-psychotic medication for the change in the younger Sexton, who is borderline mentally retarded. Now, the doctors said, he is aware of the charge against him and understands the nature of the legal process.

Sexton told one doctor that he understood that "I can have the death sentence, but I'm praying to God that he'll help me with that."

"He does have a pronounced fear of his father," said psychiatrist Arturo Gonzalez.

The 1994 trial of his father exposed a bizarre family tale of incest and murder. Eddie Lee Sexton and his wife came to Florida with several of their children while on the run from Ohio, where authorities alleged the couple had been sexually abusing their children for years. Authorities later said Eddie Lee Sexton had fathered children by his daughters.

In 1994, Hillsborough authorities unearthed the bodies of Eddie Lee Sexton's grandson, 9-month-old Skipper Good, and his son-in-law Joel Good, in two graves in separate state parks.

Eddie Lee Sexton's daughter confessed to strangling the baby after her father became enraged at the baby's crying. Prosecutors say Eddie Lee Sexton later ordered his son Willie Sexton to kill Joel Good after learning of Good's plans to go to police about the baby's death.

The trial has been scheduled for June 9 before Circuit Judge Bob Anderson Mitcham.