OCALA, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - Marion County sheriff's deputies say they have solved a 2007 murder case. Tony Phillips, 37, had already been identified as a potential suspect in the stabbing death of 41-year old Derrick Wilcoxen. Phillips, who had been booked into the Marion County Jail earlier this year on warrants related to the possession and sale of cocaine, was formally charged on Wednesday with second-degree murder in Wilcoxen's death.
Wilcoxen was found deceased in the driver's seat of his Ford van with multiple stab wounds to his neck. Detectives worked for years on the case, interviewed dozens of people and tracked down several associates that Phillips knew and allegedly spoke to about the murder. Cold Case Unit members felt there was probable cause to charge Phillips in the case.
Wilcoxen's wife, Carmen, said her world was shattered when she learned her husband had been killed. "I died that night when they came and told me he was gone. It was a very scary moment. I was empty," she said.
"They got the guy that killed Derrick," said Wilcoxen's mother, Linda DeLeon. "You just have to have faith, pray."
Marion County Sheriff Chris Blair said the case may never have been solved if not for the persistence of a dedicated team that focuses on bringing closure to the victims' families. "These victims and their families will always have advocates for their cases here in Marion County and these cases will never be given up on," said Sheriff Blair. "I am very proud of everything this Cold Case Unit has accomplished and their service to Marion County's citizens does not go unappreciated."