KENNEWICK – A Kennewick man accused of killing his wife, setting their home on fire and fleeing more than 1,700 miles was in court on Thursday.
Brian Wilcox 68, made his first appearance in Benton Superior Court after being arrested in Oklahoma on May 2. He pleaded innocent in the death of his wife, Kathy Wilcox.
He is being held in the Benton County jail on $1 million bail on charges of premeditated first-degree murder and first-degree arson. Prosecutors have filed an aggravating circumstance of using a deadly weapon when he committed the crime.
Defense Attorney Shelley Ajax said she would wait to argue bail.
His trial is set for July 5.
Wilcox was caught in Del City, Oklahoma, about a week after the mobile home he and his wife shared at 1405 S. Elm St. burned in a fire April 25.
Benton County Fire District 1 was called to the home just outside the Kennewick city limits after a passerby spotted fire coming from the front door and roof. Firefighters later discovered Kathy Wilcox’s body in the kitchen.
An autopsy found the 72-year-old woman had been shot before the fire started.
Investigators smelled gas in the living room, where the fire is suspected of starting, said court documents. They also discovered what appeared to be a melted gas can in the kitchen, according to court records.
The Wilcoxes’ son noticed that his mother’s car, a blue 2015 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport, was missing from the driveway. Once the fire was put out investigators found empty gun safes in the house.
Detectives were able to find footage of Wilcox going to a West Kennewick Avenue bank about the same time firefighters arrived at the home, said court documents.
A nationwide warrant was issued for his arrest, leading to his eventual capture in Oklahoma.
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