Andrew S. Wilson is a 61-year-old former resident of Brushwood Lane in Palm Coast. For now, he’s living at the budget motel at 601 North State Street in Bunnell. Five years ago he was found guilty of raping a child when she was between the ages of 9 and 12. The child was his own step-daughter.
He was living on Pritchard Drive in Palm Coast at the time. He would wait for her mother to go to work, get the child drunk, then brutalize her, forcing her to perform acts on him. The child told her mother about it. Her mother did not report it. The child, by then an adult, reported it in 2015. The State Attorney’s Office almost immediately prosecuted the case, filing a capital felony charge. Until the law changed in 2008, Wilson would have been eligible for the death penalty had he been found guilty. Instead, capital felonies in those circumstances usually result in life in prison, or a sentence close to it.
Months after he was charged, Wilson opted to plead out. The plea softened the charge to rape of a child under 18–still a first degree felony, with a maximum prison sentence of 30 years. But the deal would be that he’d serve just 10 years. He appeared before then-Circuit Judge J. David Walsh on February 2, 2016, pleaded, and was sentenced to 10 years, with 200 days’ credit for time served.
Last Thursday–coincidentally, April Fool’s–Wilson was released from Taylor Correctional prison in Perry, Fla., having served just a little over half his sentence.
There is no explanation, either in his court file or from the Department of Corrections, what led to his early release. On a 10-year sentence, even with 202 days’ credit and gain time after serving 85 percent of his sentence, his release would not have taken place until around January 2023. Now, he is to serve his 20 years’ probation a relatively free man, though he will have toi follow certain stringent rules.
He walked into court in Bunnell a free man on Monday, in a white t-shirt and black mask. The court had made an error when it sentenced him five years ago. It had designated him as a sexual offender, when he is, in fact, a sexual predator. He had been summoned to court so the judge, now Circuit Judge Terence Perkins, and the prosecutor, Assistant State Attorney Melissa Clark, could fix that error.
“If there’s anything I can say that can change that,” Wilson told the judge, hoping that he would not be so designated.
“Unfortunately, it’s not discretionary by the court. It’s required by the statute,” the judge said.
“Probably the biggest effect of How many times he has to go in and update his [information], his address, things like that,” Clark said. “It’s a little more strenuous than it is for sex offenders. It’s lifetime, just like sex offender. But the big thing is going to be the How often he has to go in and deal with his local Sheriff’s Department.” He will also have to update his driver’s license, which must reflect the designation. And he will be subjected to the sheriff’s public notices every time he moves. The sheriff is required by law to disseminate an announcement every a sexual predator moves in or changes address.
After the judge explained the particulars and urged Wilson to go over the terms of his designation and probation, Wilson thanked the court and walked out.