According to court documents James Wiley would use a shotgun to fatally shoot stepmother, Becky Wiley, and his stepbrothers Tyrone, Willie and Jessie, all of his stepbrothers were still in elementary school at the time of the murders. Wiley would attempt to burn down the house following the murders
James Wiley would be arrested, pleaded guilty and would be sentenced to life in prison
James Wiley Now
|Name:||Wiley , James Michael|
|WDOC Inmate Number:||16047|
|Projected Discharge Date:||N/A|
|Parole Eligibility Date:||N/A|
|Correctional Facility/Office of Supervision:||Wyoming Medium Correctional Institution|
7076 Road 55 F
Torrington WY 82240
James Wiley Photos
James Wiley Escape
A multiple murderer who escaped from the Wyoming State Penitentiary on Monday was captured in Utah late Thursday night.
Officials with the Summit County sheriff’s office said James Michael Wiley, 20, was arrested in the parking lot of a restaurant in Echo, Summit County, at 11:11 p.m., a little more than 72 hours after his escape from the prison in Rawlins.Wyoming authorities had spent three days searching for Wiley in eastern Carbon County, about 300 miles east of where he was captured, in what was called the biggest manhunt in recent state history.
But Wiley somehow slipped past searchers in Wyoming and made it to Utah, where he contacted his family.
Utah and federal authorities arranged Wiley’s arrest with the aid of Wiley’s family and two friends, according to Sgt. Larry Henley, of the Summit County Sheriff’s Office.
Henley said after Wiley contacted his family, family members and friends rented a car in Salt Lake City to drive to pick up the man.
But Henley said the family and friends met with Summit County sheriff’s officers first to say they wanted to help bring Wiley in without violence.
When the family and friends met Wiley in the parking lot about 25 miles west of the Wyoming border Thursday night, he was arrested by waiting officers without incident.
Wyoming Gov. Jim Geringer, in a prepared statement, praised law enforcement officers for Wiley’s capture.
“I want to compliment everyone who is involved in the law enforcement activities – as well as the cooperative effort of a lot of people,” Geringer said. “I think everyone can rest easier, a lot easier.”
Wiley, convicted in the 1990 shotgun slayings of his stepmother and three brothers, escaped with a second prisoner from the prison Monday night.
The second inmate was apprehended early Tuesday morning.
Search parties made up of officers from state, Carbon County, Albany County and Rawlins law enforcement agencies had narrowed their search to an area of eastern Carbon County.
Wiley faces charges of escape and auto theft in Wyoming stemming from the incident.
Wiley is serving a term of three life sentences and of 20 years to life, to be served concurrently, on his first- and second-degree murder convictions in the murders of his stepmother and brothers.
Wiley, 15 at the time of the shootings, was convicted of using a shotgun to kill all four family members and then setting fire to their mobile home in Thermopolis
James Wiley Case
The murders of Becky Wiley and two of her sons apparently went smoothly, police say, but 10-year-old Willy fled. He was dragged back into the house and shot in the head.
His bloody tasks accomplished, 15-year-old James Wiley set his family’s mobile home ablaze, according to authorities.
James Wiley was known to friends and neighbors as a lifeguard, honor student and student council leader, a clean-cut teen-ager with “a million-dollar smile,” a churchgoer, baritone horn player in the high school band, a talented wrestler.
“A good kid,” high school secretary Bobbi Miller said of him. “The side I saw was happy, not moody. He was always nice, had a cute smile. You just think you’re going to know something like that–but not with this kid.”
Ellie Creek, sister of the boy’s slain stepmother, insists that “how kids act at school is different than how they act at home.
“He is a bully. I thought he was selfish, spoiled. The community attitude is ‘he’s such a good kid, it’s impossible he could do this.’ When the general public finds out more, they’ll be able to grip the situation better.”
This month, James Wiley pleaded innocent and innocent by reason of mental disease and deficiency. The trial was set for Sept. 9.
The public record on the case is scant.
At first, police announced that they were holding a juvenile suspect in the killings of Becky Wiley, 34, Jesse Lee Wiley, 13, and Jamie’s stepbrother Willy Lee Brady and half brother Tyrone Wiley, 5.
It was not until March, when a judge decided to try James Wiley as an adult, that his name was revealed and a criminal complaint was made public.
The complaint gives details of Jamie’s activities from last Nov. 23, the day before the shootings. It alleges that he and three friends broke into a pool where he worked as a lifeguard, went swimming and stole some cash and candy bars.
Jim Mecca, who owns the swimming complex, says he saw Wiley leaving late that night. They exchanged a quick hello and, when Mecca went to the front counter, he noticed that $160 was missing from the petty cash box.
The teen-ager somehow had a key to a room at the nearby Holiday Inn, and the three spent the night there, according to the complaint.
The next morning his friends drove him to wrestling practice. The coach, LeRoy Hayes, said the 135-pound athlete was in good spirits and fine shape.
“He said he felt good. He ran two miles in 13 or 14 minutes. He talked about an upcoming wrestling match in Powell,” the coach said. “He was a real hard-working wrestler. He had set goals to be state champion. He probably would have been a state champion before he graduated.”
After practice, Jamie’s friends dropped him off at his house and left, according to the complaint. There he allegedly argued with his stepmother, picked up a shotgun and fired it–first at his stepmother, then the two brothers.
He ran out of ammunition when he got to Willy, the document said.
“He reloaded the weapon and went to look for . . . Willy,” according to the complaint. “He caught the 10-year-old in the front yard and dragged him back into the home. . . . He then shot him in the head with the shotgun.”
His first attempt to start a fire in the living room was unsuccessful. Then he found an aerosol can and used it as an accelerant, the complaint says.
With the house aflame, James Wiley bypassed nearby neighbors and drove more than a mile to telephone firefighters from a friend’s house, authorities have said.
The complaint does not suggest a motive for the slayings. It offers no background that might explain how the boy came to take up the shotgun.
Relatives say the family was in turmoil. When the Wileys were married eight years ago, she brought one son from a previous marriage and he brought two. Three years later, Becky Wiley bore another son.
James Wiley was unable to get along with his stepmother. He left home last summer to live with his mother in Florida. He returned to live with his father and the rest of the family a few weeks before the killings took place.
Lisa Klingelhoets, Willy’s aunt, says Jamie was jealous of the younger boys. “He never accepted Becky. It seems as though he could never get enough of his father’s attention. Becky’s family says he had pulled a gun on them before.”
Others say that Becky Wiley couldn’t control James Wiley or earn his respect.
“She said, ‘If I just keep showing him love, he’ll come around’. . . . He came around all right–with a gun,” said Creek, Becky’s 27-year-old sister.
The father, a fishing and hunting guide, would say nothing. “This is my son’s future we’re talking about. I have no comment at all,” Mike Wiley said.
The murders and the arrest of James Wiley have shaken Thermopolis, a central Wyoming town of 3,800 best known for the mineral hot springs that bubble up alongside the Big Horn River.
“I feel something flipped in him. I never thought he had a violent bone in his body,” said Mecca, the pool owner.
“He was pretty much a wonderful kid,” said Margaret Stansill, Jamie’s guidance counselor at Hot Springs County High School. “There were no identifying red flags. Nothing to lead you to believe he had problems.”
“This kind of thing just doesn’t happen in Thermopolis, Wyoming,” said Miller, the high school secretary.