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Brandon Wilson

Brandon Wilson (c. born in 1978) is currently incarcerated on Death Row at San Quentin State Prison for the murder of 9-year-old Matthew Cecchi in Oceanside, California on November 14, 1998. Wilson was twenty years old when he followed the boy into the men's washroom at the Oceanside Harbor. Cecchi, who was at a family event, was escorted by his aunt to the washroom. She stayed outside near the door waiting for him. Wilson, a drifter from Milltown, Wisconsin, quickly took out a knife and pulled Matthew's head back and slashed his throat from ear-to-ear without making a sound. Wilson quietly left, walking right past Matthew's aunt who was completely unaware of what had just transpired. She entered the washroom when Matthew failed to come out and screamed when she found the little boy lying dead in a pool of blood.

Oceanside police immediately cordoned off the area in an attempt to find the killer, but Wilson was not caught until a few days later when he attacked a woman in Los Angeles.

The trial

Wilson pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity and his trial began on September 13, 1999. He told investigators he killed Matthew because God told him to do it and then go on a killing spree. Wilson's public defender, Curt Owen, portrayed him as an insane young adult who heard voices. He had no permanent place of residence and he had been abusing LSD since he was 14. Curt Owen told jurors that Wilson had experienced urges to kill since he was a teenager. At age 13 Brandon was profoundly affected by his parents divorce. The divorce apparently made Wilson develop a hatred against his mother. He had fantasies of killing her. Wilson believed he was a warrior for God. Wilson was also disturbed by the sudden death of one of his closest friends in a car accident. According to his attorney, Brandon graduated high school and received a $25,000 settlement for injuries he sustained in a car accident. Wilson used the money to travel the country and find God.

But the jury rejected all those arguments upon viewing a police videotape of Wilson describing the attack on Matthew Cecchi. Brandon appeared happy and proud of his actions. He smiled and laughed several times as he demonstrated to Detective Chris McDonough how he attacked the boy. Brandon even admitted he knew his actions were wrong.


On September 28, 1999, the jury quickly returned a guilty verdict. Wilson's reaction to the verdict was a happy one. During the penalty phase, Wilson took the unusual step to testify. He urged the jury to give him the death penalty. He told the jury that society would be a better place without him. He admitted having no remorse for Matthew Cecchi, and told them he was capable of killing another child and enjoying it. The jury agreed and gave him the death penalty. Just a few weeks shy of the one year anniversary, Brandon Wilson was sent to Death Row at San Quentin State Prison.

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