VIDEO: Family of Chili’s murder victims, survivors address the court ahead of sentencing

Local News

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Family and loves ones of Stephen Gudknecht and Kristopher Hicks address the court ahead of William Wood Jr.’s sentencing. 

The two were killed when Wood robbed the DeWitt Chili’s back in September.

Gudknecht’s mother, Nancy Chappell, spoke highly of her son, painting him as a loving single-father who loved being in the kitchen and put his family first. 

“This cowardly act of violence carried out by William Wood was unnecessary and it has shaken our family and this community,” she said.

Chappell recalls telling her 14-year-old granddaughter that her father was murdered, saying “her screams when I told her still stay with me.” 

Chappell is now caring for her son’s children and was fired from her job because she had to take care of them full-time. 

Gudknecht’s daughter also read a letter in court, sharing how important her father was to her and described the lasting impact his death has had on her– she said she has been in and out of therapy and is failing some classes because she can’t focus in her grief. 

Hick’s father also addressed the court before sentencing.

He adopted Kristopher at two-days old, saying “he was the apple of my eye.” 

“He has destroyed not only my family, but his younger brother, Ken. He is angry, lost and doesn’t want to leave the house in fear,” Hicks said of Wood. 

Survivors of the shooting also spoke in court.

One woman recalls her moments of terror, remembering the gun against the back of her head and thinking she only had seconds to live. “It was the most scared I’ve ever been,” she said. 

Wood’s gun had jammed, sparing her. 

Click the player to hear their heart-breaking testimony. 

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