Josey Wilson
Josey Wilson
October 22, 2013


One of two teens accused of using stolen vehicles to evade law officers this summer pleaded guilty to several charges in Jefferson on Monday and Friday.

Josey M. Wilson, 19, of Carroll, has been jailed in Greene County since his July arrest and pleaded guilty there to felony burglary charges from both Greene and Carroll counties.

Wilson and Zachary M. Wailes, 19, of Breda, face multiple criminal charges in Carroll, Calhoun and Greene counties. They are accused of stealing a pickup truck, camper, generator, all-terrain vehicle, car and several other items in early July. They allegedly eluded sheriff's deputies several times - one time in a high-speed chase - before being apprehended.

To avoid having to transport the teens back and forth, county attorneys have coordinated the prosecution of the teens by having them plead guilty in one county to charges filed in that county and other jurisdictions. Wailes is set to plead guilty to some of the crimes in Carroll next week, where he has been jailed since the teens' arrest.

On Monday, handcuffed and wearing an orange shirt and pants with his shoulder-length hair hiding his face, Wilson spun in his chair as his lawyer, Joel Baxter, and Greene County Attorney Nicola Martino chatted about the courtroom's decor.

Having already pleaded guilty Friday to a felony count of third-degree burglary for Greene County in order to get two other charges - third-degree burglary, this one an aggravated misdemeanor, and theft of an automobile - dropped, Wilson pleaded guilty to two charges of third-degree burglary for Carroll County, in order to have a theft charge dropped.

During the hours in which the teens allegedly avoided police on July 8 and 9, an alert sent to area residents warned them to keep their keys out of their vehicles, causing many of them to become fearful.

"We had 119 calls from people by the afternoon," Calhoun County Sheriff William Davis has said. "Some thought that murderers had escaped from a correctional facility. ... Holy cow. Where'd all that come from?"

Before the alleged thefts, there were outstanding-arrest warrants for Wailes and Wilson, who had failed to appear in court for drug and trespassing charges, respectively.

As he stood before District Judge Gary McMinimee Monday, Wilson described his actions in July.

"I entered a garage outside Breda and stole ... food out of it," he said. After a moment of silence, he added, "without permission."

He also described stealing a log chain and ratchet strap.

Although attorneys in Carroll and Greene counties did not collaborate on plea negotiations, Martino said, they hope to work together to plan concurrent prison sentences for the two teens, which means their prison terms would be dictated solely by the most-severe charge to which they plead guilty. That would amount to a prison term of up to five years for each teen.

"We have a pie-in-the-sky plan to try to do the sentencing on all of the charges in one place at one time, but we don't have a concrete plan for that," Martino said. "In terms of the plea negotiations, we really didn't do too much of that. I didn't talk directly with (Carroll County Attorney John Werden). I cut my deal over here; he cut his deal over in Carroll."

Werden could not be reached to comment for this article.

Both Wilson and Wailes are set to appear in court Dec. 4 for sentencing, according to online court records.