Pot Grower Guilty of Murder of his Farm Worker

A federal jury found Mikal X. Wilde guilty of gunning down of one of three men he had hired to grow marijuana on his 800-acre mountain property near Eureka because they tried to quit.

Wilke, 33, was convicted Monday after jurors deliberated for less than a day.  Jurors found him guilty of use of a firearm to commit murder, murder during a narcotics offense and conspiracy to grow marijuana and use of firearms during a drug offense.

Prosecutors accused Wilde of hiring three men to water and care for 1,500 marijuana plants on the Kneeland property near Eureka in 2010. He also armed the three workers but in August 2010 the men, including Mario Juarez-Madrid and Pedro Lopez-Paz, wanted to leave with payment for the work they had performed.

Instead, Wilde took the guns and later returned to the property and shot the Juarez-Madrid and Lopez-Paz, according to the government.  A third worker, Christopher Bigelow fled into the woods and hid all night until he was found by a jogger the next day.

Lopez-Paz was shot in the face but survived, also by hiding in the woods.

Wilde shot Juarez-Madrid three times and hunted him down with a final shot a contact wound to the back of his head, according to the government.

He was found guilty of a premeditated murder.

Wilde faces a potential mandatory minimum sentence of 55 years in prison or up to two life terms in prison plus a $1.5 million fine.  His sentencing is set for June 3 before U.S. District Judge Edward Chen.

Case:  U.S. v. Wilde, No. 12-cr-0144EMC


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