FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 7, 2011
For More Information, contact:
Joy Patterson (334) 242-7491
Alabama Attorney General
Suzanne Webb (334) 242-7351
Page 1 of 2
AG STRANGE ANNOUNCES GUILTY PLEA IN DEATH OF WIFE
AS MONTGOMERY MAN’S TRIAL WAS SET TO START TODAY
(MONTGOMERY) -Attorney General Luther Strange announced that a
Montgomery man this morning admitted that he killed and hid the body of his wife
who was missing several years before being declared dead. Albert Leonard Wilding,
82, was set to begin trial today for the murder of his wife, but instead pleaded guilty to
manslaughter. He was sentenced to 20 years, which was split for him to serve five years
imprisonment followed by five years of supervised probation.
“The guilty plea this morning is a result of years of dedicated teamwork by many
agencies, including the perseverance of a man who began the investigation when the
victim first disappeared, and those who followed new leads and fought in court to see
that this killer would be brought to justice,” said Attorney General Strange.
Albert Leonard Wilding and his wife Judie Wilding were owners of the Ani-Mall
pet store in Montgomery, which Judie Wilding operated. Upon pleading guilty this
morning, Albert Wilding admitted that he killed Judie Wilding on April 1, 2000, and
disposed of her body. Evidence gathered by investigators and prosecutors includes the
Employees of Ani-Mall became alarmed when their boss Judie Wilding did not
appear at work on April 2, 2000. Fearful because they had seen Albert Wilding in rages
against his wife within recent days and because they had witnessed him take a razor
blade and mutilate images of animals at the store, they reported Judie Wilding missing.
Albert Wilding claimed his wife had been angry and left home voluntarily.
A search warrant served by the Montgomery Police Department in 2001 found Judie
Wilding’s identification and credit cards were still in Albert Wilding’s possession at the
couple’s home in the Arrowhead neighborhood of Montgomery.
For five years, Albert Wilding paid to keep up life insurance policies that were
owned by his wife and for which he was the beneficiary. He paid a total of $30,000 for
policies which, had she been alive, she could have cashed out herself or terminated at
any time. After Judie Wilding was declared dead in 2005, Albert Wilding received
approximately $815,000 from these policies.
501 Washington Avenue Montgomery, AL 36130 (334) 242-7300
www.ago.state.al.us Page 2 of 2
The Attorney General’s Office presented the case to a Montgomery County grand
jury and obtained an indictment of Albert Wilding in August of 2008. Subsequent
investigation determined that Albert Wilding opened a particular safe deposit box just
days after learning that the Attorney General’s Office had taken the case and reopened
investigation of Judie Wilding’s disappearance. Judie Wilding’s wedding rings were
found in that safe deposit box.
This morning in court, Albert Wilding said he found his wife packing a suitcase to
leave him, that he tried to stop her, and he stated that she had a gun that he tried to take
from her. He stated that the gun went off and killed her, and that he did not attempt to
call the police or an ambulance, but rather, that he put the body in a bathtub at the
house for a day, burned the body the next night, and then disposed of the remains in
numerous locations in Lake Martin.
Attorney General Strange commended those who worked to bring this case to a
successful conclusion, noting Assistant Attorney General Don Valeska, chief of the
Criminal Trials Division, Assistant Attorneys General Andrew Arrington and Tina
Coker, also of the Criminal Trials Division; Assistant Attorney General John Davis;
Special Agents Gene Sisson, Jeff Chandler, J.W. Barnes, and Danny Billingsley, all of the
Attorney General’s Investigations Division. In particular, he gave high praise to Don
Favor of the Montgomery Police Department for his dedicated perseverance throughout
the years to solve this crime. He also thanked the Alabama Department of Public Safety
and the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office.