An Indiana man accused of murdering his cancer-stricken wife won a township board primary election while in jail for the brutal slay.
Andrew Wilhoite — who was charged in March with murdering 41-year-old Elizabeth “Nikki” Wilhoite, allegedly using a concrete flower pot — is one of three Republicans who secured a spot Tuesday in November’s election for the Clinton Township Board, the Indianapolis Star reported.
Wilhoite, 40, of Lebanon, has been in custody at the Boone County Jail since he told investigators he threw the flower pot at his wife’s head and dumped her body over the side of a bridge. He’s next due in court on May 27, according to the newspaper.
The township board consists of three members and only three candidates entered the Republican field, while no one filed to run on the Democratic ticket. Wilhoite garnered 60 votes, compared to his competitors’ 110 and 106 votes, stats cited by the newspaper show.
Anyone facing felony charges can still run for local office, but they become ineligible upon conviction, state election officials told the newspaper.
“Under our legal system, every person is innocent until proven guilty,” said Brad King, co-director of the Indiana Election Division. “If a candidate is ultimately convicted, then depending upon the timing of that conviction, the person can be replaced on the ballot by the political party that has a vacancy.”
But King noted there’s no law barring anyone who is jailed ahead of trial from “exercising the duties of their office” if they get elected.
“How that practically gets executed will depend on the facts,” King told the newspaper.
Court documents obtained by WTHR show investigators found traces of blood in the couple’s home after Nikki Wilhoite failed to show up to work at a Zionsville oral surgeon’s office.
Andrew Wilhoite told cops his wife had filed for divorce and that they had been arguing about his extramarital affair, claiming he had slept on the couch and didn’t see her when leaving for work, WTHR reported.
But Wilhoite later changed his version of events, ultimately admitting to cops that he hit his wife on the head with a flower pot and then drove her body in his pickup truck to a Boone County bridge where he dumped it, court documents show.
A friend of Nikki Wilhoite said she had just finished her final chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer, WTHR reported.
Andrew Wilhoite’s trial is expected to begin in August, although it is likely to be delayed if there’s not a plea deal in the case, according to the station.
Wilhoite’s attorney didn’t return a message seeking comment, the Indianapolis Star reported.