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New York ‘Chili’s Killer’ Enters Federal Guilty Plea



SYRACUSE, NEW YORK – William D. Wood, Jr. pled guilty today to federal charges related to the September 2018 robbery and murders he committed at the Chili’s Grill and Bar in Dewitt, New York.

Wood, 35, of Syracuse, entered guilty pleas to three federal felonies: one count of robbery and two counts of using a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence and murder. He admitted that in September 2018, he planned and carried out an armed robbery of the Chili’s in Dewitt, and that during the commission of the robbery he directly caused the deaths of two people by use of a firearm.

Wood further admitted that during the early morning hours of September 15, 2018, armed with a loaded handgun, he forced his way into the back door of Chili’s, where four employees remained to close the restaurant. Wood admitted that he held all four employees on the ground at gunpoint, and after obtaining the available cash from the restaurant’s safe, shot and killed Stephen Gudknecht and Kristopher Hicks.

Kristopher Hicks and Stephen Gudknecht (Provided photos)

Wood admitted that his gun malfunctioned as he attempted to shoot another employee, allowing time for that employee and a fourth employee to hide and flee from Wood.


Wood’s sentencing is scheduled for December 29, 2021 before Senior United States District Judge Thomas J. McAvoy in Binghamton, New York. He faces maximum sentences of 20 years on the robbery conviction, and life on each of the two firearms offenses.

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