|For Immediate Release
Case # 06NF2339
May 5, 2008
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Public Affairs Counsel
MAN CONVICTED OF MURDERING SHERIFF’S DEPUTY ON 91 FREEWAY WHILE TRANSPORTING
SANTA ANA – A Long Beach man was convicted today of murdering an on-duty Los Angeles Sheriff‘s Deputy by causing an car crash while transporting a stolen stove on the 91 Freeway. Cole Allen Wilkins, 32, was found guilty by a jury of one felony count of murder with a 2002 prior prison conviction for failing to register as a sex offender. He faces a maximum sentence of 25 years to life in prison at his sentencing on July 11, 2008 at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-30, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.
Early in the morning on July 7, 2006, Wilkins stole a shipment of appliances that had been delivered to a home that was under construction in Riverside County. In his haste to flee the scene, the defendant failed to secure the stolen appliances and left the tailgate of his pick-up truck down. While in the commission of stealing the appliance, Wilkins was driving 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 about 5 a.m., several people driving just west of Tustin Avenue on the 91 Freeway called 9-1-1 about a stove obstructing the westbound #1 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 the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department and is survived by his wife and 5-year-old twins.
Wilkins was identified following an investigation by the California Highway Patrol. Wilkins lied about his true name to avoid being identified as the owner of the truck.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Mike Murray of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.