An Indiana man accused of murdering his cancer-stricken wife won enough support in a local Republican primary to advance to the general election this fall.
Forty-year-old Andrew Wilhoite won 60 votes on Wednesday in his campaign to take a seat on the Clinton Township Board—despite being jailed on a felony murder charge.
Wilhoite was one of three names on the GOP ballot running for three open seats, which means that all three will advance to the general election.
Court records say Wilhoite told police he hit his wife Elizabeth in the face with a gallon-sized cement flower pot during a late-night argument on their front porch over his recent extra-marital affair in late March. Wilhoite told police she fell down after the blow, and that he placed her body in his pickup truck and drove her to a nearby creek, where he threw her in, according to court documents.
Regardless, Wilhoite is now cleared to compete in the upcoming general election in November, because there’s no rule barring someone accused of a felony from running or even winning.
“There is no legal reason he can’t be a candidate,” King said. “Under our system, you are innocent until you are proven guilty. If a person is convicted of a felony, then they are no longer eligible to be a candidate and are ineligible to hold office.”
Court records suggest Elizabeth filed for divorce on March 17, about a week before she died. The couple had been married for 12 years, according to a local press report. Elizabeth had reportedly recently completed a round of chemotherapy treatment for cancer.
According to the police affidavit, police arrived at Wilhoite’s home after one of Elizabeth’s co-workers put in a call to say she hadn’t shown up for work. The co-worker said Elizabeth had recently filed for divorce and was having issues in her marriage.
During that encounter, Wilhoite told the responding officer that Elizabeth had slept on the couch the previous night, after the couple had a fight. He said he thought she might be with her sister, and that maybe something “drug-related” had happened.
Later, Wilhoite changed his story, telling the cops he hit her with a flower pot and threw her in the creek. He said he threw the pieces of the broken flower pot out of his truck window on the highway the next morning while driving to the nearby town of Linden to drop off some corn.
Wilhoite told officers that he did not check whether she was breathing after he knocked her down, according to an affidavit filed by Indiana State Police in his court documents. Authorities recovered her body partially submerged in about three feet of water on March 26, police said in a statement.
An attorney for Andrew Wilhoite, Mark Inman, didn’t return requests for comment.