Man, 20, sentenced in beating death


A 20-year-old Woodbridge man was sentenced to serve four years through the youthful offenders program for his part in the beating death of a homeless man. An additional 20-year imprisonment was suspended, based on 10 years of probation.

Robert Louis Wilkins, of 14718 Featherstone Road, pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter last September.

Prosecutors have described Wilkins as “the less culpable” in the attack on 37-year-old Kevin Frock, who purchased beer for Wilkins and William Carl Taylor on Sept. 16, 2001. Frock invited the young men to drink at his campsite behind Ashdale Plaza shopping center in Dale City. Afterwards, they beat him to death with a tree limb and a folding chair.

Taylor, 20, of Dale City was sentenced to 30 years in prison with five years suspended Sept. 5. He pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.

Thursday, Wilkins’ grandmother testified that her grandson was a “follower.”

“If he was violent, I did not recognize it,” Nancy Wilkinson said. The Peterstown, W.Va., resident said that her grandson had lived with her his senior year of high school and had been frequently picked on because of his small size.

The Commonwealth arranged a plea bargain with Wilkins because of his lack of previous record, his assistance in the investigation and because he turned himself in eight days after the killing, defense attorney Ronald Fahy said when arguing the court should accept the recommendation.

The bargain and its recommended sentence angered Frock’s older brother Frank and sister Peggy, who were in court Thursday. Both spoke in protest of the Common-wealth’s recommended sentence.

“We don’t go along with [the recommendation] at all … By his own hand, he crushed the skull of my brother,” Frank Frock said. “Manslaughter doesn’t make sense to me. All we want is justice.”

“We no longer have Kevin, but he has his life,” Peggy Frock said. “We as a family are just trying to get through this the best way we know how.”

Statements from the defense witness suggesting Wilkins’ troubled childhood didn’t affect the Frocks.

“I was in and out of foster homes [as a child],” Peggy Frock said. “I didn’t murder anyone.”

“It’s a tragic thing this family has to endure. I do stand by the recommendation. I understand why the family doesn’t agree,” Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney W. Michael Phipps said.

“It’s clear the Commonwealth doesn’t think [Wilkins] should be treated lightly,” sentencing Circuit Court Judge LeRoy F. Millette said. “I don’t think anybody is minimizing the case. The issue with Mr. Wilkins is participation.”

Millette considered the sentence given to Wilkins’ co-defendant, Taylor. Millette suggested the Commonwealth had treated Wilkins “about the same” since Wilkins’ total sentence is 24 years, should the suspended time be imposed. The suspended time could be imposed if Wilkins violates his 10-year probation.

“I did learn my lesson,” said Wilkins, who has served 16 months in prison. “I am very, very sorry. I didn’t think he was a bad guy — I tried to stop it.”

Staff writer Maria Hegstad can be reached at (703) 368-3101, Ext. 121.

Similar Posts