Man to get life sentence in murder

Published Sunday, September 03, 2000

POTEAU, Okla. (AP) -- A man convicted of raping, beating, and then stabbing to death a 15-year-old Arkansas girl is to be sentenced Oct. 4.

Jonathan Keith Cole, 21, of Fort Smith, Ark., was found guilty Thursday of first-degree murder in the 1996 death of Summer Wilkinson of Fort Smith.

Wilkinson's skeletal remains were found near an Oklahoma racetrack.

A LeFlore County jury Friday recommended that Cole be sentenced to life in prison.

Cole already is serving a 70-year sentence in Arkansas for his conviction in 1997 for the death of 13-year-old Lisa Teague of Fort Smith, whose body was dumped in a vacant lot.

In the recent case, Cole was accused with three other men of picking up Wilkinson from her home May 15, 1996, then raping and beating her before stabbing her to death. Her body was dumped near Tri-State Speedway in Pocola.

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