Thursday, December 12, 2013
Covering Dallas, Monmouth, Independence, Falls City and surrounding areas since 1868
October 15, 2013
DALLAS -- Unusual circumstances surrounding the custodial interference case against Dallas resident Tara Wilson have gotten stranger, as she is now serving a sentence for a crime she hasn't yet been convicted of.
In an odd outcome of a settlement conference between prosecutors and Wilson's defense lawyer Friday afternoon, she is serving an anticipated sentence of 75 days at the Polk County Jail.
The sentence is the expected result of an anticipated conviction on a trial scheduled for later this month on one count of second-degree custodial interference.
Wilson was indicted on two counts of the charge in May, accused of disappearing with her then-infant daughter, Ashlyn Wilson, in 1995. Ashlyn's father, Dan Wilson (the last names are a coincidence as Tara and Dan never married) had been awarded custody of Ashlyn before the disappearance as a result of Tara having missed several custody hearing dates.
The indictment was issued after mother and daughter suddenly reappeared in May 2013, the elder Wilson turning herself in at the Polk County Jail. By that time, Ashlyn was 18 years old.
The bizarre case added another weird twist on Friday following the settlement conference.
Wilson's release agreement from jail was revoked, which allows her to be taken into custody before a scheduled "stipulated facts trial" on Oct. 29.
In a stipulated facts trial, the prosecution and defense present facts that neither dispute and allow a judge to weigh the evidence and render a verdict.
Polk County District Attorney Aaron Felton said both sides are so confident that the result will be a conviction and sentence that Wilson decided to begin serving her punishment early. She was directed by the court to turn herself in to the jail Monday morning.
Felton called the case "one of the most unique cases I have ever been involved in."
He said the Oct. 29 stipulated facts trial will resolve the criminal charges against Tara Wilson. However, a civil case is pending.
Felton said Dan Wilson, who lives in Iowa, is planning to attend the trial and will testify before the court about the nearly two-decades-long ordeal.
"There is no amount of time that could ever make up for the time lost with his daughter," Felton said of the anticipated sentence. "I'm not sure it is overall proportionate, but I'm not sure you would be able to find a sanction that is."