MINOT, N.D.-A former Minot kindergarten teacher was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole on Wednesday for helping to plan the brutal stabbing murder of her husband's ex-wife 2 1/2 years ago.
Both the state and the defense had recommended lesser sentences for Cynthia Wilder, 27, but District Court Judge Stacy Louser said she could not overlook the amount of planning that Wilder put into the murder and in covering it up.
Wilder's husband, Richie Edwin Wilder Jr., was convicted in December 2016 of the November 2015 murder of his ex-wife, Angila Wilder. He was sentenced in May 2017 to life in prison without parole.
In the case, Cynthia Wilder told an old lover, who was working as a confidential informant for the Minot police, that she had helped her husband plan the murder by staking out Angila Wilder's residence to see when Angila and her boyfriend left and returned to their home.
Cynthia Wilder told the confidential informant that she had known her husband was going to carry out the murder that night and that she helped him clean up blood evidence in her car when he returned home. She later lied to the police that Richie Wilder Jr. had been home with her and the children all night.
Cynthia Wilder also admitted that she had known of Richie Wilder Jr.'s aborted plan to escape from the Ward County Jail in August 2016 and had agreed to help him get a car, clothing and cell phones.
Cynthia Wilder had contacted her old flame on Facebook after Richie Wilder was arrested and seemed interested in resuming the relationship. The man, who has an extensive felony record himself, went to police because he was concerned about what she was saying and he thought she should be held accountable. His conversations with Cynthia Wilder were recorded.
Portions of the recording were played back in the courtroom at the sentencing hearing on Wednesday.
In one segment, Cynthia Wilder told the informant that Richie Wilder Jr. hated Angila Wilder so much that he couldn't "just do one stab to the jugular" and "he ... went psycho on her."
Angila Wilder, who was pregnant at the time of her death, was stabbed 44 times and fought hard for her life. Richie Wilder Jr.'s DNA was found under her fingernails.
Cynthia Wilder tried to backtrack on that story on Wednesday during her sentencing hearing. She said a lot of what she told the confidential informant was exaggerated or was not true. She testified that she did not know Richie Wilder was going to murder Angila Wilder that night. He left and told her he had a few things to take care of.
She realized something was wrong the next morning when she dropped her stepdaughter off at her elementary school on the way to work and saw a number of police cars outside Angila Wilder's home. She said when she looks back, she believes her husband was extremely manipulative.
The judge didn't seem to believe Cynthia Wilder's testimony on Wednesday and called her claims "disingenuous."
Louser said that whether Wilder was the "puppet or the puppet master in this tragedy" may never be known but the one thing that is clear is that Cynthia Wilder "was the one person who could have stopped this" and she chose not to. She also betrayed her stepchildren's trust.
"Your actions are the ultimate form of child abuse," said Louser before she pronounced sentence.
Cynthia Wilder had cared for her stepchildren, Angila Wilder's two children with Richie Wilder, after their father was incarcerated, up until she was arrested herself in May 2017. The children, a 13-year-old girl and a 7-year-old boy, are now living with their maternal grandmother.
Richie and Cynthia Wilder also have a 4-year-old daughter together. As of last year, that child was living out of state with her paternal grandfather.
Cynthia Wilder said before her sentencing that she will always love her children and wants the best for them.