Prosecutors seeking transfer of California inmate

Saturday, October 18th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Prosecutors want a California inmate transferred to Tulsa to face charges for a 1975 murder he was linked to through DNA.

Clyde Carl Wilkerson's trial must start within 120 days after he arrives in Oklahoma, unless he asks for a delay of court proceedings, Assistant District Attorney Fred Morgan said.

It could take 30 to 45 days to get temporary custody of Wilkerson.

Wilkerson, 64, was charged May 7 with first-degree murder in the strangulation of Tulsa Junior College student Geraldine Martin.

Martin, 28, was abducted Feb. 5, 1975, from a parking lot on the downtown campus. Her body was found three weeks later in a vacant apartment. She had been sexually assaulted.

Wilkerson is in a San Diego correctional facility, according to a court document filed Thursday in Tulsa.

A long-haul trucker, Wilkerson was sentenced in April to life in prison in California after he pleaded guilty to murdering a California man and raping the slain man's wife in 1965.

Wilkerson became a suspect in the Martin slaying in November 2002 after police in El Cajon, Calif., notified Tulsa police that they were investigating him for crimes committed in California in 1965. He was arrested in Arkansas in October 2002 after DNA testing linked him to the California case.

California investigators "established a detailed time line" that placed Wilkerson in Tulsa during the time of the Martin homicide, Tulsa police said.

Testing linked Wilkerson's DNA to DNA obtained from physical evidence in the Martin case, police said.

By waiting to initiate transfer proceedings until the fall, Tulsa County prosecutors avoided a summer recess for jurors and increased the number of jury weeks available to try Wilkerson under the tight time limit.