Judge Denies Wilding Bond, Issues Gag Order

Posted by: John Shryock - bio | email

Reporter: Bryan Henry - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - A Montgomery man charged with murdering his wife wants to be free on bond until he's tried, but that isn't going to happen.

Seventy-nine year old Albert Wilding is accused of killing his wife, Judie, eight years ago.

Mrs. Wilding disappeared in 2000 from the parking lot of her Vaughn Road pet store business; she was declared legally dead in 2004.

A grand jury indicted the husband even though his wife's body has never been found.

Wilding didn't say a word in his bond hearing Wednesday, but attorneys on both sides of the table had a spirited debate over whether he should be allowed to post bond.

Wilding's attorney, Joe Espy, told the court the state's case is 'smoke and mirrors,' and there was no evidence a crime had been committed since investigators never found a body or DNA evidence.

Prosecutors shot back claiming 'we have powerful circumstantial evidence,' and adding 'we can prove Judie Wilding is dead.'

The state also pointed to Albert Wilding's background.

Wilding Admits Killing Mother-in-Law

In the motion to deny bond for the 79-year-old, prosecutors reminded the judge that Wilding killed his mother-in-law in Louisville, Kentucky 38 years ago.

The motion says Wilding pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and was sentenced to 21 years in prison.

Just a year later, Kentucky's governor at the time commuted Wilding's conviction, though it's not clear exactly why.

The defense argued that Albert Wilding has never tried to run in the last eight years, is a member of a local church for more than 30 years, and the former president of the Arrowhead Country Club.

Prosecutors felt otherwise, noting that Wilding would be a flight risk as court documents showed he collected more than $800,000 from insurance policies on his late wife.

In the end, the judge denied bond and did something else; handed down a gag order for all attorneys involved.

In that same hearing Wednesday, Wilding entered a 'not guilty' plea.

For now he's back in the Montgomery County Jail awaiting a trial date that has yet to be scheduled.

WSFA 12 News will have more on this story as it becomes available.