MINOT, N.D. - The man serving life in prison in the 2015 murder of Angila Wilder was back in court Monday for a pair of hearings—one for a plea change, the other, over the custody of the children he fathered with Angila.
"As to count one, a class C felony escape, how is it you do wish to plead?” asked Judge Stacy Louser.
“Guilty,” said Richie Wilder, Jr.
Thirty-one-year-old Richie Wilder, Jr., who's serving life in prison in the 2015 killing of Angila Wilder, pleaded guilty to charges he tried to break out of his county jail cell last August.
Prosecutors say corrections officers caught Richie on camera chiseling at his cell window, while another inmate served as a 'lookout.'
“Corrections officers moved in, and did in fact find some of the window molding,” said Kelly Dillon, Ward County Dep. State’s Attorney.
In something of a formality, Richie will serve five years on the escape charge, concurrent with his life sentence.
But the murder case itself took center stage, as Richie's new attorney contested part of his sentence barring him from having contact with the two young children he fathered with Angila.
Defense attorney Raissa Carpenter argues that Judge Gary Lee's sentence violates due process, and the children never invoked Marsy's Law protection. Instead, state Social Services could have handled the custody.
“Based on these criminal charges, and the fact that the children were in the care of his wife, that state agency could have investigated and intervened, and the law provides mechanisms for them to do that,” said Carpenter.
State prosecutor Kelly Dillon argued that, with Richie convicted of killing Angila, the state must work to protect the children.
“There were two people prior to Angila Wilder's death who were responsible for the welfare of these children, and one of those people eliminated the other. Somebody has to protect these children, and assert rights on their behalf,” said Dillon
Judge Lee said he would rule on custody matter soon, as Richie's murder conviction is set to go on appeal before the State Supreme Court.
Richie's current wife Cynthia Wilder remains in custody on a $1 million bond on charges she helped Richie plan Angila's killling and then aided his failed jailbreak.