A state Senate candidate in Arizona who shot and killed his mother said last week at a forum that he supports “good guys” with guns.
“You can pass all the laws you want to in this world, and when you’ve got somebody out there that wants to harm somebody, they’re going to do it if you don’t stop them,” Bobby Wilson told the crowd at the event put on by gun control group Moms Demand Action.
As The Arizona Republic reported, in 1963 in Hugo, Oklahoma when Wilson was 18, his mother tried to attack him in his sleep.
“[She] was hell-bent on killing me in my sleep one night,” he told the crowd at the forum. “At three o’clock in the morning, I woke up to find a rifle in my face — a semiautomatic rifle at that — and the bullets started to fly, and I started diving for cover.”
Wilson explained last week that he believes his experience is proof that the only way to stop an attacker like his mother with a gun is for a “good guy” with a gun to fight back and argued, as the group heckled and booed him, that no legislation could help prevent gun deaths.
Former Rep. Gabby Giffords, who almost died in a 2011 shooting, was in the audience when Wilson told the story of killing his mother last week.
“I knew it was gonna be a hostile audience when I went,” Wilson told local media. “I just thought, ‘I’m gonna go in and tell them how I think, and they can throw rocks or bananas or whatever, I don’t care.'”
Wilson also told the Republic that he believes Giffords should have had security with her and that the former congresswoman “created a target.”
“She basically created a target,” he said. “Anytime you have a group of celebrities or a group of people like at the forum last night, you better have security there. It’s the same with a public school.”
The story Wilson told the group last week was the short version of a much longer story about killing his mother, one he outlined in his memoir, but that, as the Republic wrote, doesn’t line up with newspaper reports from the time.
Wilson’s sister also died the night he killed his mother. According to Wilson, who spoke with the Republic, his mother saw a shadow move while attacking her son and swung the gun, hitting his sister in the head and killing her. Wilson says he was able to grab a shotgun from under his bed and shoot his mother in the eye.
Wilson, who is repeatedly booed by the audience for various reasons (including saying everyone is good Christians) describes how he was nearly killed in his bed by a man who broke into his home, wanted to kill him. Wilson was able to shoot with a loaded gun he kept under his bed. pic.twitter.com/b0djHCXYLb
— Joe Ferguson (@joeferguson) July 10, 2018
Correction: It wasn’t a man holding the gun, it was Wilson’s mother. He killed her that night in self-defense. (The audio keeps cutting out, I apologize. I swear I heard him say “man.”)
— Joe Ferguson (@joeferguson) July 10, 2018
The family kept gasoline in Wilson’s room, and some had been spilled in the fight. As Wilson turned on the light, he says the spark caught the gas and the house exploded. Wilson was arrested for the deaths of his mother and sister that night, but he claims, years later, that he suffered from amnesia and didn’t remember what happened that night for many years.
After two trials that were “inconclusive” and after the state was never able to build a solid case, Wilson says the district attorney and sheriff apologized and the judge dismissed all charges against him.
As the Republic noted Monday, reports from the time tell a different story. According to one report obtained by the paper, Wilson’s mother and sister were found burnt, lying together in bed “in a ‘perfectly relaxed’ position, indicating they died in their sleep from suffocation.”
According to the Choctaw County Weekly report, Wilson confessed a week later to killing his mother and sister, saying he shot his mother and then crushed his sister’s skull with his rifle butt when she ran toward him. He then, according to the Weekly, placed the bodies on the bed, poured gas around the house and lit a match, sending the house up in flames.
Wilson claimed he suffered amnesia, and a jury agreed. A judge ruled Wilson was thus “not capable of proceeding to trial and making a rational defense” and suspended the trial until Wilson regained enough memory.
Seven years after that, in 1973, Wilson moved to dismiss entirely the charges against him, arguing that he had been deprived of his right to a speedy trial. The court dismissed the charges.
Wilson says now that he regained his memory of the night years later while working as an attorney.
The experience of the killing that Wilson uses to back up his take on gun control is hardly the only eyebrow-raising take the candidate has made publicly. In 2016, as the Republic reported, Wilson wrote a book arguing that the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing was part of a government sting operation and that “a massive cover-up had occurred and possibly an innocent man executed.”