Loveland Reporter-Herald

Wilkinson sentenced to 30 years

Defendant pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in death of Red Feather Lakes man

- By Austin Fleskes afleskes@prairiemou­

The Grand Junction woman charged in the 2016 death of Derek Michael Brock has pleaded guilty to murder and will spend three decades in prison.

Cynthia Elaine Wilkinson, 58, appeared before 8th Judicial District Court Chief Judge Susan Blanco and pleaded guilty to an amended count of seconddegr­ee murder, a class 2 felony. Wilkinson’s plea agreement stipulated 30 years in prison for the charge that could carry a maximum sentence of 48 years.

Wilkinson was arrested in March of 2022 in connection to Brock’s death.

An affidavit, released several months later, claimed that Brock’s body was dismembere­d and dissolved after he was killed at his Red Feather Lakes home and that Wilkinson was behind the crime.

The affidavit also claimed that, following his death, Wilkinson took possession of all of Brock’s belongings, including his home, and tried to make it look like he was still alive by renewing his driver’s license.

The Larimer County Sheriff’s Office began investigat­ing the death after Jesse Wilkinson, who claimed to be Cynthia’s husband, reported informatio­n on the case. He claimed that Wilkinson and Brock were in a relationsh­ip at the time of his death and provided officers with informatio­n that he claimed Wilkinson had told him, including how Brock reportedly died and what happened to him afterward.

Throughout the investigat­ion, the LCSO spoke to several different people and dove into property and police records to investigat­e what happened to Brock, ultimately leading them to Wilkinson.

She was eventually charged with two counts of first-degree murder after deliberati­on, a class 1 felony; theft ranging between $100,000 and $1 million, a class 3 felony; three counts of forgery, a class 5 felony; and four sentence enhancers of being a habitual criminal. The other charges in the case will be dismissed in the agreement.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Brian Hardouin began the sentencing by calling up members of Brock’s family to speak before the judge, starting with Gail Brock, Derek’s daughter.

She said that it had been nearly a year since she found out that her father was dead and what had happened to him, saying through tears that “none of life’s trials could have prepared me for this news.”

She said she constantly wonders what her father was thinking and feeling before he died, adding that Wilkinson not only robbed them of their family member, but destroyed his body so he could not be buried or cremated, and took what belonged to him.

“Evil walks among us and takes human form in your existence,” she said. “You will never get the punishment you deserve here on Earth. Hell is reserved for people like you. I will celebrate when the devil comes to your cell to take your last breath.”

Betty Belcher, Brock’s ex-wife, said that a 30year sentence was a “slap in the face” to what she felt Wilkinson deserved. She said that while Wilkinson’s family will still get to see her and talk to her, Brock’s family will never get to hear from him again.

“I never thought in my entire life I would ever say this, because life is so precious, but I hope she dies a slow, miserable death behind bars,” she said. “I want every moment of her miserable life and every breath she takes and every time she closes her eyes … I want her to see Mike’s face. And most of all I want her to see every moment of torture she put on his body to steal what he had. I hope it haunts her forever. Death will surely find such evil, it is going to find her.”

Hardouin said that, in his time as a prosecutor, he has never handled a case with facts like this one. He said, though, that in discussion­s with Brock’s family and Wilkinson’s defense team, the decision was made to offer a deal instead of going to trial; one reason cited was that some informatio­n on the case came from Jesse Wilkinson who is currently serving time in prison for an unrelated murder, making him a witness with questionab­le credibilit­y.

He added, quoting a former court judicial officer, that sentencing was the close approximat­ion of justice.

“True justice would be somehow rewinding the clock to the middle of April 2016 and stopping what happened,” he said. “Unfortunat­ely … (we) can’t offer them that. We will never be able to offer them true justice.”

Erin Crowgy, one of Wilkinson’s attorneys, agreed with Hardouin that the plea agreement was appropriat­e.

She added that it had been a pleasure getting to know Wilkinson, describing her as a mother, grandmothe­r and someone who cares deeply about those she loves and wants to save them from the stress, anxiety and heartache that would come at trial.

“The agreement we have entered avoids the challenges both logistical­ly and emotionall­y of trial for all involved,” she said.

Wilkinson did not say anything on her own behalf. Blanco began by expressing her sympathies to Brock’s family and her thanks to those who investigat­ed the case. She said that events like this are incredibly sad because Brock was not only a loved person, but a member of the community.

“It is very difficult to hear what happened in this case, because the same way the court honors the dignity of people who come before the court who are accused … it is a challenge to understand how something so heinous and terrible could happen in our community,” she said.

She agreed with Belcher, saying that it does not feel like 30 years could be enough time for “something so heinous.” She added that for it to seemingly have been over money and property is baffling.

“How this could possibly be worth all of this? I could not possibly understand,” she said.

Blanco ultimately accepted the agreement and sentenced Wilkinson to 30 years in the Department of Correction­s with five years of mandatory parole and 336 days of credit for time served.

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