Police search for defendant who fled before guilty verdict

by: Catherine Bilkey Updated:

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. —

Police are looking for a felon due back in court for sentencing.

Tahj Wilson was at the courthouse for almost every moment of his trial this week. But prosecutors say when things weren't looking good for his case and he knew he'd be facing prison time, he vanished before the verdict.

Police say Wilson has a long criminal history.

They say he set up a drug deal with two undercover officers in Huntersville in 2011 and robbed them.

"(He) made arrangements with the detectives to sell them cocaine (and) during the sale of that cocaine, he pulled out a gun and robbed them," Lt. Scott Sharp with Huntersville Police Department said.

Wilson bonded out of jail on that charge. So he was free to come and go from his trial this week, but prosecutors say he left Tuesday night. He didn't show Wednesday morning when the jury found him guilty of robbery, conspiracy and drug possession.

"Generally, with the amount of security that's in the courtroom, we know where people are and where they're going," Assistant District Attorney Tim Sielaff said. "This one time it didn't work out."

Police are looking for the 24-year-old felon so he can face his sentencing. Eyewitness News asked if he's a danger to the public.

"The jury has found him guilty of committing a very violent offense," Sielaff said. "And he's looking at a significant prison sentence once he is found."

He's facing years for this conviction, and he could be facing even more time.

"He could be charged with new offenses for not appearing in court or a judge may just take that into consideration when he's ultimately sentenced," Sielaff said.

Wilson's attorney has also tried to get him to come back to the courthouse. Police are checking all of places he's lived and with his family and friends.