WILLITS, Calif. (AP) - A Northern California man accused of killing his 84-year-old grandfather by dragging him behind a pickup truck for nearly six miles has pleaded guilty to first-degree murder.
The Ukiah Daily Journal reports that 24-year-old Kenneth Wilkinson entered his plea in Mendocino County Superior Court on Monday, just as jury selection was set to begin. In return for his plea, prosecutors dropped a special circumstance of torture.
Authorities were called to a Willits-area home last March after family members reported Richard Mel Wilkinson missing. Deputies ultimately discovered a trail of blood and body parts leading to his body, which was found in a ravine.
Public Defender Linda Thompson has said the younger Wilkinson was impaired by drugs and suffered from mental health problems.
Wilkinson is scheduled to be sentenced on May 9.