SANTA ANA, Calif. – A man was convicted today of murdering a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) Deputy by causing a car crash while transporting a stolen stove on the 91 Freeway. The case was retried after the California Supreme Court overturned the defendant’s 2008 conviction due to the trial court failing to give a required jury instruction.
|Defendant||Charge||Maximum Sentence||Court Date|
|Cole Allen Wilkins, 41, Long Beach||Found guilty by a jury today of one felony count of second degree murder||25 years to life in state prison||Sentencing
Sept. 29, 2017, 9:00 a.m.
Department C-45, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana
“The Orange County District Attorney’s Office extends our utmost gratitude to the jury for their careful consideration of the facts and for delivering a just verdict of murder in this case,” stated District Attorney Tony Rackauckas. “This defendant deserves to spend the rest of his life in prison for murdering a police officer who was on his way to serve and protect the public. Our hearts go out to Deputy Piquette’s widow and children who had to endure not only the sudden, tragic loss of their husband and father, but multiple trials and hearings. It is for them and other crime victims and survivors that we dedicate our lives.”
Circumstances of the Case
- During the early morning hours of July 7, 2006, Wilkins stole a shipment of appliances that had been delivered to a home under construction in Riverside County.
- The defendant failed to secure the stolen appliances while fleeing the scene and left the tailgate of his pick-up truck down.
- Wilkins drove on the 91 Freeway in Anaheim and allowed a full-sized stove to fall from his truck onto the freeway.
- He refused to stop after knowing that the stolen stove had blocked the freeway lanes, sped away, and failed to return to the crash scene.
- At approximately 5:00 a.m., several people driving just west of Tustin Avenue on the 91 Freeway called 911 about a stove obstructing the left westbound lane.
- A few minutes later, Deputy David Piquette was forced to suddenly swerve in his unmarked County vehicle to avoid hitting the stove.
- As a result, the victim collided with a Mack cement truck, killing Deputy Piquette.
- The victim was a 10-year veteran of LASD and is survived by his wife and then-toddler twins.
Prosecutor: Senior Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Walker of the Homicide Unit.
Orange County District Attorney / Case # 06NF2339 / September 6, 2017