Arizona GOP Guy Killed His Mom To Prove Good Guys Need Guns. And Then Things Got Weird.
Watch out Florida: Arizona may finally have the story that conclusively proves it's the craziest in the nation and can never be topped. (No, Texas, that's not a challenge. Just kidding, OF COURSE IT IS.) How about this tale of a GOP candidate for the Arizona state Senate, one Bobby Wilson? Wilson went to a candidate forum in Tucson last week to tell voters that guns save lives, and he oughta know, since he once used a gun to save himself from a crazed attacker whom he shot dead. Then he explained that oh, yeah, the attacker was his mom. And also, he'd been charged with the murder of her and also his sister, but he got better.
Arizona Republic reporter Alison Steinbach has written one of the most completely What The Actual Fuck?! stories we've seen in quite a while -- every few paragraphs, it manages to get more insane. If you want to experience it in its pure unspoiled glory, go read the whole thing now, then come back and we'll chat. A summary can only convey part of just how balls-out batshit this candidate's self-defense yarn is. He's the batshittiest candidate we've seen in an election year in which running for office are a bunch of actual Nazis.
A Man, A Mom, A Gun: Nugamomanama!
For starters, the July 9 meeting in a Tucson church where Wilson told his story was sponsored by Moms Demand Action, the group founded after Sandy Hook to call for gun safety legislation. Wilson was one of just two Republicans at the event, and his good guy with a gun story didn't exactly win the crowd over, not even in the self-flattering version he told that evening. He was just 18 and living in Hugo, Oklahoma, when it all went down back in 1963, and here's his version of events:
"You can pass all the laws you want to in this world, and when you've got somebody out there that wants to harm somebody, they're going to do it if you don't stop them," Wilson told the crowd [...]
"(She) was hell-bent on killing me in my sleep one night. At three o'clock in the morning, I woke up to find a rifle in my face — a semiautomatic rifle at that — and the bullets started to fly, and I started diving for cover," Wilson said [...]
He said he dodged six bullets before reaching for the gun under his bed, which he then used to shoot his mother. He said if not for that gun, he'd be dead.
So that was one close call! Were it not for his single-shot rifle and a lucky shot, he wouldn't even have been alive to tell the tale. Look, here he is, telling that tale in video posted to Twitter by Arizona Daily Star reporter Joe Ferguson:
Glass Jars Are For Pee, Not Gasoline
The tale, as promised, gets weirder. Wilson was happy to tell more to Steinbach; he also wrote about his story in a self-published book, Bobby's Trials, which we have no plans to read, even though crazy Arizona gunslinger self-fanfiction is kind of our beat. You see, while his mom was shooting up the room with that semiautomatic rifle, he says, she was so crazy wild that when she saw a shadow out of the corner of her eye, she swung her gun at it. But the shadow was actually his younger sister, and his mom accidentally smashed her head in with the butt of her rifle, killing her!
And also, all those stray bullets from his mom's gun hit some of the many glass jars and at least two metal gallon cans full of gasoline the family stored in young Bobby Wilson's room, because it was hard times and they had no air conditioning back then so the Wilsons stored their hoard of gasoline in glass jars in Bobby's room, the coolest in the house, as one does. It's easy to forget such folk wisdom from the old days in our modern world.
You probably see where this is headed, huh?
After the horrifying gunfight with his mom, whom he killed with an incredibly lucky shot through her eye, Wilson says,
[He] then ran to the living room to call for help. As he turned on the light switch to reach for the phone, a spark ignited fumes from the spilled gasoline in the other room, he said.
"The house exploded," Wilson recalled.
According to Wilson, he was blasted through the living-room window and into a barbed-wire fence. He said he received a concussion upon impact and was found unconscious and taken to the hospital.
This is not the end of the weirdness. Court records and local newspaper accounts from the Choctaw County Weekly seem to have somehow got the story all wrong, as Steinbach recounts:
the charred bodies of Lavonne and Judy Wilson were found lying together in bed "in a 'perfectly relaxed' position, indicating they died in their sleep from suffocation."
Possible Holes In His Airtight Narrative
Wilson -- say, did we mention that court records called him "Wiste" at the time because, he says, his mother was insane and hiding out from the law? He later legally changed it to "Wilson" after all the trouble -- was accused of murder, and even confessed, explaining he'd shot his mother and then beaten his sister with the rifle butt when she ran at him, then carried the bodies to the bed, poured gasoline and kerosene around the house, and lit the fire himself.
Oh, and the local paper said he buried the gun and later showed cops where to dig it up, a detail strangely missing from his current retelling. Wilson now insists his confession was forced out of him while he was all loopy after the blast. Steinbach doesn't appear to have asked him whether the investigation turned up any bullets or the charred remains of that "semi-automatic rifle" his mom shot at him a bunch of times. Neither of the Choctaw County Weekly accounts she found mentions that alleged weapon, either. But heck, it's probably easy for something like a semiautomatic rifle with a multi-round magazine, and a lot of bullets, to be missed during a crime scene investigation, especially back in 1963. (No, still not buying the book to see if Wilson mentions it.)
Wilson, the only witness to all this, claimed he had amnesia at the time, so after a hearing in which a jury deemed him incompetent to stand trial, a judge delayed the case until his memory came back. But since his memory did not come back before his right to a speedy trial was abridged, in 1973 Wilson moved to have the charges dismissed, and of course since he was a good boy who loved his mama, a judge complied. Wilson went to Texas, became an attorney, and eventually moved to Arizona.
Jebus Ex Machina!
And then last year, he told the Green Valley News about the wondrous day his memory came back to him in a flood of pure truth!
"The full details didn't become conscious until I was investigating the case of one of my first law clients, who also had been falsely accused of murder," remembers Wilson. "She, like me, had no money or resources to defend herself against the heavily biased legal machine."
Wilson was looking for clues in the vehicle the woman was driving the night her boyfriend was fatally shot. He smelled something unmistakably familiar — the scent of gasoline mixed with blood. It sent him staggering.
"The horrible, nauseating smells off the car plummeted me back like a lightning bolt to that fateful night in my childhood, and all the memories flooded in," Wilson says. "It was an incredibly disturbing experience, but it also brought relief: now I had the truth."
Wilson blames the "sensationalist" local newspaper editor and "corrupt" sheriff for lying about him and railroading him, because you know how Big Choctaw County Media is all fake news, in cahoots with local law enforcement (OK, fine, that's one part of the whole mess that, by small-town standards of journalism -- like the fawning, credulous Green Valley News story -- may not be too big a stretch to imagine, but we think prolly not in this case. A room full of gasoline in jars? To quote top forensic expert Jimmy McNulty, "Fuck me.") Nope, no mention of mom's semi-auto rifle being found in the Green Valley story, either.
There are additional WTF moments in the Arizona Republic story, like the note that Gabby Giffords was in the audience at the Tucson event (Wilson sez she "basically created a target" of herself by having that public meeting outside a Safeway store without armed guards, because crazy people with guns are everywhere).
Also there, as one of the candidates, was Giffords's former intern, state Rep. Daniel Hernandez, who's running for reelection to the state House. Hernandez, you may recall, was the affable gay hero guy who helped Giffords survive immediately after the shooting. Wilson had something stupid to say about him, too:
Wilson said he was aware of Hernandez's story and knew that he "supposedly" helped Giffords in the moments immediately after the shooting.
But really, more guns woulda done the job. After all, said Wilson, there was an armed guard at the meeting, and aren't all these gun-grabbers big hypocrites? Smart people always have a gun handy, just in case someone needs shootin'. Like an insane mother in a killing frenzy with a semiautomatic rifle that seemingly vanishes after the fact, the end. (NO! NOT! BUYING! HIS BOOK!)
One good thing about all this: The Tucson district Wilson's running in is heavily Democratic, and there's an incumbent, state Sen. Andrea Dalessandro. Wilson also has to get past the state's August primary. The other Republican in the race, Shelley Kais, diplomatically told the New York Times there are "other issues" for voters to focus on, although we have a feeling now this story is getting traction, that may change.
Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.