MELROSE, Fla. – A 30-year-old man charged with murder in the killings of two young brothers in Melrose was ordered to be held without bond Saturday morning when he appeared before a Putnam County judge.
Mark Wilson Jr. was arrested late Thursday night on two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of 12-year-old Robert Baker and 14-year-old Tayten Baker.
Bond is typically not granted in capital murder cases.
Wilson was also appointed a public defender.
News4Jax contacted family members of the boys Saturday morning who declined to comment on the judge’s decision.
The Putnam County Sheriff’s Office said Wilson is accused of using a hammer and a knife to take the brothers’ lives. The boys’ mother found their bodies when she woke up on Wednesday morning, the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office said.
A younger sibling was not harmed.
Putnam County Sheriff Gator DeLoach said the Baker family had moved from Polk County to Putnam County just over two weeks ago to be closer to family and allowed Wilson, the boyfriend of the boys’ aunt, to live in a shed on their property.
On the Putnam County jail website, Wilson’s last address is listed as Newberry, Florida.
News4Jax found that Wilson has been in prison twice, facing charges including drug possession, car theft, burglary and dealing in stolen property -- all arrests in Alachua County. None of those charges involved violence.
On his Facebook page, DeLoach wrote: “...The sick monster responsible for Tayten and Robert’s brutal murder was arrested last night. ... Unfortunately, Robert and Tayten were the ones who suffered whatever was going through Wilson’s twisted agenda. As a parent, the murders of Robert and Tayten are an unimaginable loss to a family. I can’t begin to understand the anguish their parents are suffering. ... My sincere hope is that the death penalty is pursued in these senseless murders.”
State Attorney RJ Larizza said in a news conference Friday that this is a case worthy of consideration of the death penalty but prosecutors need to talk to the family and review the evidence before making any official decisions about whether they will pursue the death penalty against Wilson.
Tayten and Robert’s older brothers, who live in Mississippi, said the boys had a close bond and it’s heartbreaking knowing their young lives were taken too soon.
“Robert, he was extremely smart. He had scholarships to go to private schools and he turned them all down because he wanted to stay with his brother,” 18-year-old Kolby Baker said.
“Tayten was Robert’s big teddy bear,” 20-year-old Kolton Baker said. “He cared for all the animals. He cared for all of his family. He was planning on going to play football for high school and college. It sucks that they’re gone.”
The older brothers have started a GoFundMe account to raise money to make sure their siblings are properly laid to rest.
After his first appearance hearing Saturday, Wilson had a shelter hearing, which involves determining whether a child has been abused, abandoned or neglected.
News4Jax contacted the State Attorney’s Office to find out what happened during Wilson’s shelter hearing. Prosecutor Bryan Shorstein with the 7th District said the hearings are confidential and no further information can be released.