Zionsville murder suspect agrees to appointed attorney after initially wanting to represent himself

LEBANON, Ind.-- Damoine Wilcoxson, 21, clad in an orange jail jumpsuit, appeared before a judge in Lebanon via video feed from the Boone County Jail Tuesday, casually answering questions from the bench about his mental competency and current status during his initial hearing on a murder charge.

“I gotcha,” Wilcoxson told the judge as his rights were explained. “I do not have an address.”

Wilcoxson is accused of gunning down John "Jac" Clements, 82, in his Zionsville driveway September 28 in what investigators claim was the beginning of a violent crime spree that not only took a life seemingly at random but resulted in dozens of bullets fired into a pair of IMPD district headquarters in the weeks to come.

“This guy’s shown he is willing and capable to go out there and kill people,” said Zionsville Police Chief Rob Knox, “and it makes no sense why he chose Mr. Clements at all.”

Clements' killing was followed by attacks on IMPD’s north and northwest district locations in October.

Investigators determined all three shootings were carried out by the same .223 weapon.

“Once we found out that it was the same, then we went through the forensic analysis of comparing those shell casings and then seeing if there is any DNA on the shell casings and the notes,” said Knox. “Initially I don’t think that we thought the shooter there has to be our guy but it all happened so relatively close together in a chronological timeline here that our cases were connected.”

Clements’ killer left behind tire tracks and shell casings.

The IMPD districts shooter left behind even more. Rambling and hate-filled scribblings warned, "white must die," and, "whites will drop."

Investigators said Wilcoxson posted similar statements on his Facebook account.

“I see a lot of anger in Wilcoxson’s statements.  I don’t see any evidence to connect him to Mr. Clements,” said Boone County Prosecutor Todd Meyer who attended the defendant’s initial hearing. “You know, you take a look at the posts he was saying some things that fit the Zionsville community profile and Mr. Clements happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Timing was everything to this investigation, said Chief Knox, as detectives uncovered a handful of surveillance videos to put Wilcoxson near the scene of the Clements murder.

“Fortunately we were able to get some of the videos of the white Impala that just matched the description, the timeline and everything,” said Knox.

One of those videos came from the dashcam of a Zionsville police car responding to the murder scene.

“His lights and siren were on and there went the white Impala,” said Knox, recounting how the video showed the suspect’s car stopping at an intersection as the Zionsville officer approached. “This would be the normal process on any crime to see if we got him on our cameras because we have several cameras out there that we have absolute control over.”

Wilcoxson began his hearing in front of Judge Matthew Kincaid insisting he wanted absolute control over his criminal trial.

“I want to represent myself,” Wilcoxson said as the judge asked if he had the funds to hire an attorney.

Wilcoxson told the judge he was not on any medications and, “I’m very intelligent.”

Judge Kincaid then quizzed the defendant on his training in the law and whether he was a licensed attorney and whether he had previous courtroom experience.

Wilcoxson has a criminal record in Ohio on drug charges.

After the judge listed a litany of advantages to relying on a defense attorney, including maintaining the record for an appeal in the event of a conviction, and advised, “It's always a bad idea,” for a defendant to represent himself, Wilcoxson relented.

“I’m starting to realize that,” he said.

A not guilty plea was entered as Wilcoxson will be held without bond.

He faces trial next March 13 while the Marion County Prosecutor is in the process of filing charges for the IMPD shootings.

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