Andrew Wilhoite, who’s suspected of fatally striking his wife with a gallon-sized concrete flower pot, secured a spot Tuesday as one of three Republican candidates in the race for a seat on the Clinton Township Board.
The 40-year-old has been incarcerated in the Boone County Jail since March after police said he told investigators he threw a concrete flower pot at his wife, Nikki Wilhoite, the night before and dropped her body over the side of a bridge.
Prosecutors charged Andrew Wilhoite with murder in his wife’s killing. His next court hearing is scheduled for May 27.
How can a candidate run for office while facing felony charges?
State election officials said it’s legal for people facing felony charges, such as Andrew Wilhoite, to run for local office. A person is only ineligible if they are convicted.
“Under our legal system, every person is innocent until proven guilty,” said Brad King, co-director of the Indiana Election Division. “If a candidate is ultimately convicted, then depending upon the timing of that conviction, the person can be replaced on the ballot by the political party that has a vacancy.”
Township boards consist of three members, state officials said. The local Republican primary race has only drawn the three candidates. No one filed on the Democratic primary ticket.
Boone County election results show Andrew Wilhoite earned 60 votes, just over 21%, to his competitors’ 110 and 106 votes. Clinton Township has a population of 906, according to data from STATS Indiana.
If a person facing felony charges is elected in a township race and they are convicted after being sworn in, King said the vacancy will be filled by someone affiliated with the political party of the last person to have the seat.
An affair. A flowerpot. Blood in the bedroom. Details into Nikki Wilhoite’s death revealed
King further noted that there’s no law prohibiting a person who’s incarcerated before trial from “exercising the duties of their office,” should they get elected.
“How that practically gets executed will depend on the facts,” King said.
Wife’s death investigation
The Boone County Clerk’s office said election filings occurred at the beginning of January through the first week of February, before Andrew Wilhoite was taken into custody on his murder charge.
IndyStar has reached out to Andrew Wilhoite’s attorney for comment.
Nikki Wilhoite was reported missing March 25 after her friend noticed she didn’t show up for work that day.
Investigators in a probable cause affidavit said Andrew Wilhoite initially told police he last saw his wife sleeping on the couch after the couple had an argument. When police spoke further with him, he asked for an attorney.
Police said Andrew Wilhoite called again shortly after and said he’d take them to his wife’s body.