Three arrested in slaying of Sylacauga native
by Emily Adams
PHENIX CITY – Three people are implicated in the recent homicide of a Sylacauga native.

The bullet-riddled body of Fort Benning Sgt. 1st Class Donald La’Shon Wilson, 34, was found in a ditch in Fort Mitchell during the early hours of April 29, according to reports. The same morning, Phenix City Police Department responded to a call of a burning car off U.S. 280. It was later discovered the vehicle, a Mercury Marquis, belonged to Wilson.

Wilson’s wife of nearly two years, Gloria Wilson, 34, was the first arrested April 30 in connection with the killing. Her alleged boyfriend Travis Leonard, 27, and a family friend Michael Tucker, 42, were arrested later in the week.

Each of the suspects is charged with murder and is being held in Russell County Jail on $500,000 bond, the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer reported Friday.

Russell County Sheriff Heath Taylor said in a Friday news conference that investigators have been working around the clock to piece together the story.

According to the Ledger-Enquirer, Taylor said Gloria Wilson was carrying on an affair with Leonard, and even moved Leonard into the home she shared with Wilson while he was on a yearlong deployment. Wilson eventually returned and kicked Leonard out, and from that point, Gloria Wilson said she wanted a divorce and mentioned to friends she wanted to kill her husband.

Taylor said Wilson finally agreed to a divorce last weekend, but financial problems spurred a different plan into action, as Gloria Wilson looked to collect about $450,000 in her husband’s military death benefits.

Around midnight Sunday, Tucker texted Donald Wilson saying he was out of gas on U.S. 280. Wilson, still in the lounge clothes he was wearing around the house, drove to meet Tucker with a can of gas. When he arrived, both Tucker and Leonard were there. The men shot him three times with his wife’s .380-caliber pistol – of which she previously posted a picture on Facebook. They then drove to the county in Donald Wilson’s car, dumped his body, drove back to Phenix City and used the gas he had purchased to ignite the vehicle, Taylor explained. The investigation remains ongoing.

Wilson, who was scheduled for a promotion, was a platoon leader twice deployed to Iraq, according to WTVM-9. His awards include six Army Commendation medals, a Meritorious Service Medal, three Good Conduct medals, two Iraq Campaign medals, Expeditionary and Service medals, a Korean Defense Service medal and a Combat Infantry badge.

He leaves behind two children, Asia and Qwentin Wilson of Sherman Heights, Texas, as well as his parents Donald and Betty Wilson of Sylacauga. He is also survived by sisters Kendra Wilson-Hudson and Sukenna Stokes, both of Birmingham, and a host of other relatives and friends.

A memorial service will be held at Fort Benning, Ga., at 1 p.m. on May 7. Visitation will also be May 7 at Community Funeral Home in Sylacauga from noon until 8 p.m., and Wilson’s funeral will be May 8 at 11 a.m. at Pine Grove Missionary Baptist Church. Burial will follow at Evergreen Cemetery.

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© 2013