Suspected Murderer in Jail Wins GOP Primary

Andrew Wilhoite, 40, an Indiana man, is charged with murdering his wife Elizabeth “Nikki” Wilhoite, 41, and still secured a GOP primary win for a seat on a township board.

Wilhoite was one of three GOP candidates for the position, and the ballot instructed voters to select three names for the office.

Boone County Superior Court Judge Matthew C. Kincaid found probable cause for the murder charge on March 28, according to the criminal court docket.

Elizabeth “Nikki” Wilhoite and Andrew Wilhoite

Deputies began investigating the disappearance of Nikki Wilhoite after a co-worker called on March 25 to indicate she did not report to work. When a foot search with K-9 units in the area was unsuccessful, investigators carefully moved forward in a possible homicide situation when realizing Mr. Wilhoite’s mother was another elected county official. Indiana State Police were brought in to head the investigation to avoid a conflict of interest.

“During the course of the investigation, detectives were able to determine that during the course of a domestic dispute, 39-year-old Andrew N. Wilhoite, Elizabeth’s husband, had allegedly struck her in the head with a blunt object causing her to lose consciousness. He then placed her into a vehicle and drove to a nearby creek where he dumped her body.”

Nikki Wilhoite had just ended chemotherapy treatments and had found out her husband had been having an extramarital affair. Court records show that the victim was seeking a divorce at the time of her death.

Police found blood in the couple’s bedroom and bathroom. The defendant said his wife scratched him during a fight, and told the police that he swung at his wife’s “face with a gallon-sized concrete flowerpot” filled with dirt. When Mrs. Wilhoite fell to the ground, the defendant said he threw her into his truck, took her to a bridge, and threw her over the side. Mr. Wilhoite said he tossed the concrete pot along the side of U.S. Route 52 as he took a load of corn to town. The defendant also allegedly told the authorities that he didn’t check his wife’s pulse after he struck her or before he put her in his truck.

The defendant can withdraw his name from the ballot before June 15, but could also remain a candidate and even assume office while charged with a crime. Only if he’s convicted of a felony, he is no longer eligible to hold office under state law. Mr. Wilhoite could hypothetically assume office while in jail awaiting trial. A trial is scheduled for August 29, 2022, but is likely to be pushed back.

Law and Crime, Newsweek