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Witness: Suspect confesses plot to kill slain Putnam County boys' family

MELROSE, Fla. – The man accused of killing two young boys in Putnam County said he and the boys’ aunt had plotted to kill the entire family, according to a warrant from the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office.

Mark Wilson Jr. was arrested last month on two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of 12-year-old Robert Baker and 14-year-old Tayten Baker.

A day after the bodies of the boys were found surrounded by blood, the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office set up a controlled meeting with Wilson and a witness.

RELATED: ‘Sick monster’ arrested in murder of 2 Putnam County boys

During recorded conversations with the unnamed witness, Wilson allegedly admitted to killing the boys because he felt the boys' family was trying to put stress on his family by reporting them to the Florida Department of Children and Families, the report states.

It was not immediately clear why he or his family would be reported to DCF.

Wilson went on to say that he and his girlfriend, the boys' aunt, had planned to kill the entire family including the mother and a 4-year-old boy, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

The plan, Wilson told the witness, was for the aunt to kill the mother and the 4-year-old and Wilson would kill the boys. Mark told the witness he was mad because his girlfriend didn’t follow through after he killed the boys, the warrant states.

‘The best brothers’

Nearly three weeks after their deaths, Deborah Benson says it’s still hard to believe her grandsons are gone.

“They were the best brothers," Benson said. "They grew up fighting for each other.”

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News4Jax asked Benson about Wilson Jr.'s behavior toward the two boys.

“He was never ever strange towards the boys," she said. “He would take them fishing. He would take Tayten everywhere he went.”

Benson says the boys' mother rushed to her house that August morning.

“She drove right to my house right around the corner and said, ‘Debbie, Debbie, call 911 I think my kids are dead,’" Benson said.

Immediately calling 911, Benson said she checked on the family’s Melrose home.

“I saw Tayten immediately and it was horrific, and I knew that he was dead as soon as I saw him," Benson said. "I tried to shake him, and I tried to call his name but all I could think is that an animal might have gotten him because of how graphic it was.”

She continued, “I went to the other room, and that’s when I saw Robert, and it was just as bad.”

The next day, deputies arrested Wilson.

Benson told News4Jax that the aunt had nothing to do with the planning of the murders. The boys’ aunt has not been charged in the case.

“She was taken into custody. She cooperated fully. She gave her DNA. The cops let her go home," Benson said. "She said she had nothing to do with it.”

The boys' grandmother said a GoFundMe account has been established to raise funds for the family.

Will state seek death penalty?

The 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, the agency said.

Sheriff Gator DeLoach said the Baker family had moved from Polk County to Putnam County recently to be closer to family and allowed Wilson, the boyfriend of the boys' aunt, to live in a shed on their property.

“The Baker family did a lot to help these two individuals and, unfortunately, it ended in the brutal death of Robert and Tayten,” DeLoach said. “We’re grieving, along with the family.”

State Attorney RJ Larizza said the case is 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.

Wilson is being held without bond.

No future court dates were scheduled as of Tuesday morning.


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