Man convicted of killing 2 Putnam County boys makes final plea to judge to spare him death penalty

Jury unanimously recommended death for Mark Wilson Jr.

PUTNAM COUNTY, Fla. – A Putnam County man convicted of murdering two young brothers was back in court Tuesday, where a judge set a final sentencing date.

A jury unanimously recommended Mark Wilson Jr. face lethal injection for killing 14-year-old Tayten Baker and his 12-year-old brother Robert in 2020.

Tuesday’s hearing was a short one. It’s what’s legally known as a Spencer hearing. It gave Wilson’s attorneys a chance to provide additional evidence to change the penalties imposed by sentencing.

It took the jury less than an hour to recommend Wilson be put to death for killing Robert and Tayten. The boys’ family has already made their position clear.

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“We want the death penalty,” their mother, Sarah Baker, said after Wilson was found guilty.

“We don’t want to work and pay taxes for him to live. Point blank. Period,” cousin Kelli Coco said after the jury’s recommendation was announced.

Now, it’ll be up to the judge to decide whether to follow through with the jury’s recommendation. A final sentencing date was set for Jan. 27.

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“Defense has had their work cut out for them in this case, since the very beginning. This was a very difficult case to defend,” said defense attorney Gene Nichols, who is not connected to the case.

During Wilson’s sentencing hearing, the court heard from a psychologist and Wilson’s stepsister -- who described a childhood filled with domestic abuse and drug use. Nichols said given the facts of this case, whatever evidence was shared at Tuesday’s hearing would have to be especially compelling.

“If we see something that we have not heard and not seen and is unexpected, then that will give the judge at least a reason to pause and consider,” Nichols said. “It’s going to be very difficult for any judge in any situation to say, ‘I’m going to not follow what the jury has recommended.’”

About the Author:

Ashley Harding joined the Channel 4 news team in March 2013. She reports for and anchors The Morning Show.