Governor Vilsack has commuted the life sentence of a Wappello County man who killed another man in a bar fight in 1982. Court records say Delbert Eugene Wilkins was drinking at Rusty’s Tap in Ottumwa when he approached a woman he thought he recognized. The woman was the fiancee of Harry Harville.
Records say Harville was also drinking and came over and placed his hands on Wilkins and a fight ensued. Wilkins then shot Harville, dropped the gun and waited for police to arrive. In a statement, Governor Vilsack says Wilkins is 67 years old and has served 23 years for his crime.
Vilsack says Wilkins is a model prisoner who “accepts responsibility for his actions and expresses sincere remorse for the incident and for the victim’s family.” Vilsack says Wilkins does not present a safety risk to the public, and the governor reduced Wilkins sentence from life to 125 years in prison. The parole board must now decide when Wilkins will be released.