Ruch man sentenced in brutal murder he says he can't remember

    Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneTodd Wilcox stands as his sentencing for murder was read at the Jackson County courthouse Friday.

    Todd Levi Wilcox was sentenced Friday to life in prison for the brutal 2016 murder of his 23-year-old girlfriend near Jacksonville.

    Wilcox, 37, was sentenced in Jackson County Circuit Court for the July 26, 2016, bludgeoning death of Alexis Lynn Stormo. Senior Deputy District Attorney Allan Smith described the crime scene as one of the most violent he has seen.

    "It was horrific," Smith said of the murder scene in Wilcox's bedroom in the 400 block of Tumbleweed Trail in Ruch. "She was almost unrecognizable."

    Wilcox was convicted of murder Feb. 28, following a six-day bench trial in which Smith and Deputy District Attorney Lucy Durst presented their case to Jackson County Circuit Court Judge Lorenzo Mejia.

    Durst read a letter prepared by Stormo’s parents at the sentencing hearing, in which they described a young woman who “loved life” and artistic beauty — particularly through drawing and photography.

    “She was not supposed to die,” the letter said. “Evil is the only way to describe it. Evil has taken our daughter, but evil will not win.”

    Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneJackson County Deputy District Attorney Lucy Durst reads at letter from the family of Alexis Stormo as Todd Wilcox (far right) awaits his sentencing for her murder, at the Jackson County courthouse Friday.

    Stormo’s parents listened to the hearing by phone but did not speak.

    Wilcox said little during the hearing and didn’t make a statement before Mejia sentenced him to life in prison with no possibility of parole for 25 years.

    Elizabeth J.C. Baker, Wilcox’s court-appointed defense lawyer, had argued that her client had no memory of the attack because of drugs and mental health issues. Baker said her client can’t explain what happened.

    “He loved her,” Baker said. “His heart is breaking.”

    Wilcox had cocaine, the sedative ketamine, the prescription anti-anxiety medication buspirone and marijuana in his system the morning of Stormo’s death, according to earlier news reports.

    “This is a tragedy,” Mejia said, before thanking Stormo’s family for the way they conducted themselves at trial. “I’m very sorry for your loss.”

    Reach reporter Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or Follow him on Twitter @MTCrimeBeat.

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