It was the last place they expected to spot him. But there he was — sitting in traffic court at the John Marshall Courthouse in downtown Richmond.
Fourth Precinct Officers Willie O'Neil and Kaneka McQueen were in court for an unrelated traffic case Jan. 24 when O'Neil recognized Robert J. Wilks. Police had been looking for him in connection with the murder four days earlier of Samuel L. Johnson, 38, on Westover Hills Boulevard.
"You know, McQueen, I think that's the murder suspect," O'Neil said to his colleague.
"And I looked," McQueen says, "and I said, 'Wait a minute.'"
McQueen stayed in the courtroom while O'Neil notified their supervisor and the sheriff's deputies who handle security at the courthouse. While Detective Sandy Ledbetter had the arrest warrant brought to court, the deputies "pretty much tapped him on his shoulder, and he came out of the courtroom," McQueen says. Wilks was calm, she says.
At roll call, at the start of each shift, Richmond police officers review photos of people wanted for various crimes. "That description just never goes out of my head," McQueen says, especially when someone's suspected of a serious crime, "'Cause I remember everybody's face."