Gary James Wiltermood III, sat at the council table in the Associate Circuit Courtroom in Hannibal Monday morning, the back of his head to the family that is still mourning the loss of Adrienne Arnett.
Family members closest to the woman who was killed while working the night shift at a convenience store on Shinn Lane on Oct. 8, couldn’t see that Wiltermood’s eyes barely left the focus of the table in front of him during the proceeding, except when it came time to answer the judge. He looked up, confirmed that he was intent on waiving his preliminary hearing, and then looked back down.
Wiltermood, charged with second-degree murder, was already seated when the family filed into the small courtroom. Dressed in an orange jumpsuit and socks, and chained at the wrists and ankles, he presented a boyish look to observers. His hair closely cropped and his face cleanly shaven, even his frame suggested an age younger than chronological 22.
Not six feet behind Wiltermood sat Adrienne Arnett’s daughter and husband, the wounds of their loss not yet a month old. Separated from the accused by a wooden rail and six armed deputies standing in a row, they presented the vision of both anger and disbelief. At one point, the morning sun shone through the courtroom window, sparking a glimmer on a tear poised on the daughter’s cheek.
Following his first public appearance since his arrest, Wiltermood was led from the courtroom, in steps restrained by the chains, and into a holding cell before others could leave the room.
In the courtroom rotunda, there were whispers among family members and friends, questioning why.