Delaware Man Found with Guns Outside of Westfield Elementary School Pleads Guilty
A Delaware man who was found to be in possession of a handgun, numerous rounds of ammunition, and a folding knife outside a Westfield elementary school last year has pleaded guilty in the case and is now facing a five-year jail term, acting Union County Prosecutor Lyndsay V. Ruotolo announced Monday.
According to Union County officials. Thomas J. Wilkie, 46, of Bear, Delaware, pleaded guilty Monday before Union County Superior Court Judge William A. Daniel, admitting to a single count of second-degree unlawful possession of a weapon.
Officials say at approximately 3:55 p.m. on Thursday, June 13, 2019, Westfield Police Department patrol officers and detectives responded to Tamaques Elementary School on a report from the New Castle County Police Department in Delaware that a man later identified as Wilkie was en route to the school and potentially armed, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutor Theresa Hilton, who prosecuted the case.
The school was placed on lockdown as a precautionary measure to identify potential threats.
Arriving officers located Wilkie, holding a .45-caliber handgun loaded with hollow-point bullets, in the front seat of his vehicle, a 2019 Mitsubishi SUV, parked in the school’s parking lot.
Two additional loaded clips of ammunition and a folding knife were recovered from Wilkie’s person, while 130 additional rounds of ammunition were located in the vehicle’s trunk.
Wilkie was taken into custody without incident and lodged in the Union County Jail, where he remained for nearly seven months prior to Monday’s plea.
Sentencing in the case has been tentatively scheduled for Friday, February 21, 2020, at which time the State will request a term of five years in state prison, with 42 months to be served before the possibility of parole.
Late last year the Prosecutor’s Office denied Wilkie’s request for a Graves waiver in the case; such filings are made by defendants seeking to avoid imposition of the state’s mandatory minimum sentence for gun offenses.