Wilk trial: Jury watches video of police interview
SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- On the third day of the trial of Jacqueline Wilk, the jury finally heard the defendant’s explanation of how her children ended up trapped in the trunk of her car.
Wilk faces neglect charges in the June 2011 deaths of her two sons, ages 2 and 4.
The state played the interview of Wilk that occurred on Wednesday, June 21, 2011, where she explains what happened the day she found her two boys in her hot car trunk.
The video shows Wilk meeting with Galen Pelletier, a investigator with the St. Joseph County's Metro Homicide Unit (MHU).
Wilk told Pelletier that her boys loved to sneak out of the house and hide in dangerous places, like inside the dryer, and in her car and her car's trunk, which she admitted she generally kept unlocked in her parent's driveway where they all lived.
She also broke down and told Pelletier, she'll have to live with the loss of her sons for the rest of her life and if she would have just locked her car her children wouldn't be dead.
Her demeanor was calm for the most part, but she seemed to be talking in a very fast pace which made her hard to understand at times. She did become very emotional when she began describing how she found her two sons in the trunk of her 2000 Chevy Malibu.
During the taped interview she told the lead investigator she may have fallen asleep down stairs while the kids climbed into the car. She said she was up until 4 a.m. the night before and she was exhausted that morning.
She said she spent a lot of the morning and early afternoon surfing on facebook via her cell phone and studying radiology from a text book that police couldn't find the day the incident happened.
The defense didn't want the taped video interview to be played, but the judge allowed it anyway. They claim Wilk was on a prescription drug called Lorazepam at the time of the interview that made her act differently. The interview was conducted 5 days after her children were found in her trunk.
She also told Pelletier her 4 year old knew how to open the deadbolt lock on the front door and it wasn't unusual to find the kids outside at times. She said a month or so before the incident her step dad changed the lock around because the boys kept getting out. However she told Pelletier that still didn't stop her oldest son Dominick. She said he figured out how to open the altered lock as well.
Pelletier asked Wilk if the boys had ever hid in her truck before and she said yes, "They have been in the trunk 10 times and baby closes it." Pelletier,said on the stand today she called her youngest son Isaac Dunner Jr. baby.
Pelletier said, "How do you know he's in there (the trunk)? Wilk replied, "because he'll knock and said, mommy let me out." Later in the interview she said she has caught the kids in her car a good 30 times and she also caught them hiding before in the clothes dryer.
The day she realized her boys were missing the police timeline shows she was looking for them for a little more than 50 minutes.
After the tape was player the judge broke the trial for lunch. Upon returning to the courtroom he had received a note from one of the jurors saying another juror had made comments after seeing the video and she now believed Wilk was neglectful of her children and she had made up her mind already she is guilty.
The Judge dismissed the juror because he said he wanted to error on the side of caution. The juror admitted that she made comments that she felt Wilk was neglectful of her children based on what she told Pelletier. However she said she hadn't made a decision of if Wilk is guilty or not yet and would remain on the jury with an open mind if he needed her to continue to serve, but she would prefer to be dismissed.
In addition to seeing the police interview, the jury also heard from Wilk’s Mother and Step Father.
They testified they were unaware of the boys playing in Wilk’s car or going outside by themselves.
Ralph Young, Wilk's step dad said he did switch around the latch on the front door back in April of 2011 because it became weathered and the door wouldn't shut properly.
He said he never heard about these trunk incidents Wilk spoke about while being interview and he thinks they never happened.
Nancy Young, Wilk's Mother also said that she never knew the boys to play in the trunk of Wilk's car.
Ralph Young said he and his wife bought Wilk the used car about 2 months prior to the tragedy happening. They decided to purchase the vehicle for her so she could get back and forth from a dental assistant program she was enrolled in at Ross Education Medical School in Granger.
Wilk will take the stand tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. when her trial continues in Judge John Marnocha's St. Joseph County courtroom.
Then both sides will present their closing arguments to the jury and they will begin deliberation.
If found guilty Wilk could face a maximum of 50 years behind bars for each count of neglect she faces.