Chili's execution style shooting, for what? Matt's Memo

The four people wanted in the execution style murders at the Chili's in Dewitt. (CNYCentral)

Closing time. A past restaurant worker shows up at the Chili's in the Shoppingtown Plaza. He holds four workers at gunpoint shuttling them into the office. Investigators say that's when he killed two and intended to kill two more. His gun jammed. District Attorney Bill Fitzpatrick called it an 'execution'.

William Wood was on the run for the next 24 hours. His friend in Fulton convinced him to turn on his cell phone. That helped police track him down, storm the house and haul him back to Syracuse. He had $875.


Today we learned three other people are also being held responsible for this crime. Two are charged with murder. The court documents say one drove the get away car. The other sold Wood the handgun used to commit the robbery. The third person is charged because police say he lied about how much he knew.

The downtown jail has all four of them in custody tonight. Three people accused of murdering two innocent restaurant workers. $875. Can that really be why? Is there no value to life?

Attempting to make sense of violent acts can be an exercise in futility. Kristopher Hicks and Steven Gudknecht deserved to live their full lives not have them cut short in a stunning murderous plot.

The Dewitt police chief has raised concern over whether a crime like this is a line of demarcation where life is cheapened and levels of crime rise. That is not a point that should be conceded. It would be better for this shocking act to turn into an impetus for positive change in the community.

Kristopher and Steven deserve that. That would be way more value than $875.

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