Florida man sentenced for 1986 murder of Bangor woman

Southwest Michigan
A photo of the arraignment of Robert Waite in a Van Buren County courthouse. (Nov. 20, 2019)

A photo of the arraignment of Robert Waite in a Van Buren County courthouse. (Nov. 20, 2019)

PAW PAW, Mich. (WOOD) — A Florida man who strangled a southwest Michigan woman to death when he was 16 will spend decades in prison for the murder.

Robert Waite, 50, was sentenced Monday to between 25 and 60 years in prison for the killing of Wilda Wilkinson.

Wilkinson, 59, was murdered in her Bangor home during an apparent break-in on July 29, 1986.

DNA found on her clothes eventually led authorities to Waite and he was charged in the case in June 2019. He had to be extradited to Michigan from Florida, where he was already in prison serving time for kidnapping and sexual battery charges.

As part of a plea agreement, Waite pleaded guilty to murder in August of this year. At sentencing, he received credit for 335 days served.

wilda wilkinson
An undated courtesy photo of Wilda Wilkinson.

In March 2019, prosecutors charged another man who had repeatedly falsely confessed to Wilkinson’s murder. Those charges were dismissed when investigators confirmed the DNA match with Waite.

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