A Riverside County jury on Wednesday, July 27, convicted a man of murdering his girlfriend during an argument in 2018 in their Moreno Valley apartment.
Krystoffer Devion Hicks, 30, was found guilty of second-degree murder with a sentencing enhancement of using a weapon in the commission of a felony.
He faces 16 years to life in prison when he is sentenced on Sept. 15, said John Hall, a spokesman for the District Attorney’s Office. The DA’s Office argued for a murder conviction but did not specify first- or second-degree, Hall said.
The couple had a long history of domestic violence.
“I think the verdict is fair,” Wilson’s father, Lata, said in an interview. “What would have been out there is if he would have got manslaughter.”
Latah’s death and the abuse she endured inspired her father to create the nonprofit Lata Wilson Foundation, whose goal is to help domestic violence victims. The foundation has an “imminent danger fund” that pays for transportation, short-term hotel stays and a couple of days of food and clothing; it streams videos related to domestic violence; and operates sports leagues that raise money for the foundation as well as Option House, a San Bernardino nonprofit organization that offers services including emergency food, clothing and shelter.
“I just serve an awesome God and know at the end of the day, God has the final say,” said Lata Wilson, who lives in Fontana. “I have just been in submission to my Lord and taken myself out of it, and hope the justice system does what it is designed to do.”
Wilson, her father said, was “a very loving person.” So much so that she had “Love” tattooed on her right hand. It was that hand, her father said, that was gruesomely cut when on Feb. 9, 2018, Wilson raised it in front of her in a desperate attempt to fend off Hicks, who stabbed her to death.
The prosecution and defense delivered closing arguments Thursday after a nearly two-week trial. The jury deliberated that day, as well as Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
According to a trial brief filed by Deputy District Attorney David Kao, Hicks and Wilson were in a relationship for four years, beginning when they lived together in Nevada, and much of that time was marked by volatility. Wilson had a daughter from a prior relationship, and Hicks and Wilson had a son together in 2017.
According to court papers, while Wilson once caused a minor injury to one of Hicks’ fingers, she suffered most of the abuse.
Her father said Wilson tried to brush off various injuries as accidents and said she loved Hicks.
City News Service contributed to this report.