ANDERSON — Aaron Toller continued to profess his innocence in the 2016 murder of his girlfriend Lindsey Wilkins before receiving the maximum prison sentence.
Madison Circuit Court Division 3 Judge Thomas Newman Jr. Friday sentenced Toller, 25, 1000 block of West First Street, to the maximum 70.5-year sentence. He will have to serve a minimum of 60 years in prison with good behavior.
Toller didn’t react following the sentencing.
Wilkins, 33, was slain by Toller on Dec. 8, 2016, which is the same day as her brother Zachary's birthday.
Her mother and three siblings all gave victim impact statements during the hearing, each placing a picture of Lindsey on the witness stand facing Toller.
The four family members asked Newman to impose the maximum prison sentence.
“Her (Wilkins) life was ended for another woman,” Lindsey’s mother Jennifer Wilkins said. “Why didn’t you just walk away?”
Wilkins said Toller showed no remorse during the trial and claimed he didn’t commit the crime.
Toller made a brief statement to the court and didn’t address his former girlfriend’s family.
“Almost 21 months ago I was accused of this crime,” Toller told Judge Newman. “I’m still pleading my innocence. I did not commit this crime or murder.”
In pronouncing the sentence, Judge Newman found no mitigating circumstance that could have lessened the prison sentence.
Newman did note several aggravating circumstances that led to the maximum sentence.
He cited Toller’s probation violation and his possession of two firearms at the time of the murder.
“This was a highly premeditated murder that was planned,” Newman said. “This was a selfish act. The irrational thoughts are inconceivable. It’s hard to imagine.”
Mary Hutchison, a deputy in the prosecutor’s office, said an aggravating circumstance was that Toller murdered Wilkins while her then-8-year-old daughter was in an adjacent bedroom and left the house to hide two handguns.
“He watched her die,” Hutchison said. “Everything he was as an obstructionist in the case.”
Hutchison said Wilkins would light up a room when she entered and was not a malicious person.
“She just loved people,” she said.
Defense attorney Jimmy McDole said Toller should have received the advisory sentence of 55 years and his conviction on obstruction of justice and false informing charges should run concurrently.
“(Toller) is appealing the jury verdict,” McDole said. “He has maintained his innocence.”
The Madison County Prosecutor’s Office alleged that Toller shot Wilkins following a struggle in the home they shared in Anderson. They had argued over his dating another woman. They believe Toller then attempted to make it appear as though the 33-year-old Wilkins committed suicide, but he hid the murder weapon before calling 911.
Toller told investigators he hid two guns, including the murder weapon, on Dec. 8, 2016, because he was afraid of a possible probation violation.