Missoula man’s conviction overturned in shaken baby death

Posted at 9:31 AM, Jul 20, 2018
and last updated 2020-01-29 18:04:19-05

MISSOULA – A Missoula man who was convicted of killing his infant son is a free man after a judge overturned his conviction and then granted a motion for his release on his own recognizance.

A Missoula County jury sentenced Robert Wilkes to 40 years in prison in 2009 after prosecutors say he killed his three-month-old son by violently shaking him.

The Montana Innocence Project took up the case several years ago, claiming Wilkes’s defense was inadequate. 

They also claim other physicians could have proven the baby’s injuries were consistent with a pre-existing medical condition and not homicidal violence.

Wilkes has always said he didn’t kill his child.

He served nine years of that sentence before walking out of jail a free man on Wednesday.

Montana Innocence Project Legal Director Larry Mansch says the state has indicated it will retry the case although Wilkes isn’t scheduled for another court appearance until this fall.