A former Excelsior Springs football captain was sentenced Friday to 15 years in prison for his role in an attempted robbery at a McDonald’s restaurant that led to the shooting death of his fellow teammate and best friend.
Tristian Allen Wilton, 19, pleaded guilty in April to first-degree attempted robbery. In exchange, prosecutors dropped a second-degree murder charge tied to the shooting death of Tyler Eddington.
Eddington was mortally wounded Oct. 14 in the McDonald’s parking lot in the 4000 block of North Oak Trafficway when he and Wilton tried to rob a drug dealer. At the time, both friends were 18.
According to prosecutors, Wilton devised the plan to rob the drug dealer of cash and marijuana. He set up the meeting and asked Eddington to do the stickup because the dealer knew Wilton. Once there, Eddington pulled a BB gun on a dealer, who brandished his own handgun.
The dealer shot Eddington and sped away. The dealer, who acted in self-defense, has not been charged.
Shortly after the killing, Wilton helped organize a candlelight vigil for his classmate.
Months later, a Clay County grand jury indicted Wilton in his best friend’s death.
Eddington and Wilton met in middle school after each of their families moved to Excelsior Springs. They frequented each other’s houses and played basketball and soon became friends.
After Eddington’s family relocated to Raytown, he moved in with Wilton’s family so he would be able to graduate with his classmates from Excelsior Springs High.
Eddington and Wilton served as two of the football team’s captains their senior year.
On Friday, Circuit Judge Shane T. Alexander complied with an agreement between prosecutors and the attorney for Wilton to impose a 15-year sentence, the maximum prison term allowed under Missouri law.
However, relatives of both teens asked for leniency.
Alexander said the two were “as close as brothers could be without sharing the same blood.”
He called the robbery a “foolish plan” and said Wilton’s actions were tragic and “Eddington paid with his life.”