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Press Release

Feb. 17, 2016

Cold Case Unit obtains guilty verdict in 1985 murder

JAMES WILCOXSON (BOOKING PHOTO)

James Wilcoxson (Booking Photo)

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. – A San Jose man was convicted Tuesday for the 1985 murder of 56-year-old Warren Thompson of Montclair.


James Wilcoxson, 58, was found guilty of first degree murder by a Rancho Cucamonga jury.

According to Deputy District Attorney Denise Yoakum, who prosecuted the case, Thompson was found lying face down in a pool of blood by his wife and daughter.

“Mr. Thompson had been stabbed 27 times, mostly in the back, and the home had been ransacked,” said Yoakum, who is a member of the Cold Case Unit. “Prescription pills, a T.V., a VCR and cash were missing. Despite their best efforts, detectives were never able to identify a suspect or recover any of the items at the time of the crime.”

While examining the crime scene, Detective Jones—who later went on to become Chief of the Montclair Police Department—collected a towel left in the living room. The towel appeared to have blood on it.

The case eventually went cold.

According to Yoakum, in 2007, Montclair Police Department submitted the towel for DNA testing.

In 2014, a CODIS his was obtained and linked to the defendant, James Wilcoxson, who was living in San Jose.

During the interview with officers, Wilcoxson provided varying accounts of what occurred on April 13, 1985. He wavered from not knowing the victim to claims of self-defense.

Wilcoxson is scheduled to be sentenced March 15 in Rancho Cucamonga Superior Court.

“Thanks to the great work of the Montclair Police Department and our Cold Case Unit, we were able to secure justice in this case,” said District Attorney Mike Ramos.

Contact: Christopher Lee, Public Affairs Officer (909) 382-3665 or via email at clee@sbcda.org or via text at (909) 782-5559

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It is the mission of the San Bernardino County District Attorney's Office to represent the interests of the people in the criminal justice system, as mandated by California State law. The San Bernardino County District Attorney's Office serves the residents of San Bernardino County by: seeking the truth, protecting the innocent; holding the guilty accountable; preserving the dignity of victims and their families; and, ensuring that justice is done while always maintaining the highest ethical standards.

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