Concord Man Faces Murder Charges In Shooting Death of Woman Who Went To Webster High


Family and friends of April Ward to hold benefit, memorial



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Benjamin Wilkinson has been charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of April Ward. (click for larger version)
February 24, 2014
A Concord Village man is facing a murder charge following the shooting death of his girlfriend in Bella Villa.

Benjamin Wilkinson, 20, of the 5100 block of Reynosa Drive in unincorporated south St. Louis County, has been charged with second-degree murder and armed criminal action in the death of April Ward, a 25-year-old mother of two who attended Webster High School.

Wilkinson was originally charged with first-degree assault and armed criminal action, but when Ward, 25, died of a gunshot wound to the head, the charge was upgraded to murder, according to the St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney's Office. Wilkinson is currently being held in the St. Louis County Jail on a $500,000 cash only bond.

Police say he shot Ward with a .25-caliber pistol. Officers were called to Ward's mother's home in the 700 block of Dallas Drive in Bella Villa about 1:30 a.m. on Feb. 18, and found Ward on her bed with a gunshot wound to the left side of her temple. She was taken to St. Anthony's Medical Center in critical condition and died later that day. Ward was the mother of 6-year-old Adrianna and 23-month-old Steven III.

Ward's family and friends are hosting a benefit to help cover funeral expenses and to help ensure the quality of life for her two young children on Friday, Feb. 28, 7 p.m. to 1:30 a.m., at Pepper's Bar & Grill, 5452 Gravois Ave. Pepper's will be donating 50 percent of its proceeds from the evening to the cause. There will also be a silent auction, a basket raffle and 50/50 raffle.

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There will be a memorial for Ward on Sunday, March 2, 2 to 4 p.m., at the track and field at Hixson Middle School, 630 S. Elm Ave. Attendees are asked to bring a purple or pink balloon to release, as those were Ward's favorite colors.

A fundraising website also has been set up to help her family pay for funeral expenses. Any money left over will be put in a trust fund for her children. Those wishing to donate can do so at http://www.gofundme.com/6zml1s.

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