‘He Looks Like Robert Downey Jr.’: Shock as TikTokers Gush Over Looks of ‘Deadpool Killer,’ Covered in Disturbing Facial Tattoos

A jury recommended a death sentence for Florida man Wade Wilson, who was convicted of sadistically murdering two women. That hasn’t stopped fascination – and admiration – for his heavily tattooed look.

Convicted Florida double murderer Wade Wilson, shown in court in June sporting distinctive facial tattoos. WFTX

Wade Wilson was convicted on June 12th of the gruesome 2019 murders of two Floridian women, and last week the jury recommended he be sentenced to death. His formal sentencing won’t arrive until later this month, but despite the very serious nature of the case, Wilson’s name and distinctive facial tattoos have made him the object of widespread Internet fascination, much of it inappropriate.  

Wilson’s case has drawn national attention for a multitude of reasons. One is that he shares a name with the alter ego of the popular Marvel character at the center of the “Deadpool” franchise – returning to theaters this summer – leading to him being dubbed the “Deadpool killer.”

Wade Wilson during his murder trial in June of 2024. WINK

Wilson might share a namesake with the fictional anti-hero, but his look screams pure villain. His face and head are heavily tattooed with ink choices ranging from theatrical – Joker-esque stitches extending from the corners of his mouth  – to racist and offensive, such as a small swastika on his cheek. A larger swastika on his head was visible in earlier court appearances, but Wilson let his hair grow out for the trial.

Wilson’s tattoos were so disturbing that his defense team filed and won a motion to apply facial makeup to cover several tattoos “that might be objectionable to members of the potential jury pool.” But for unknown reasons, Wilson still showed up for jury selection with his tattoos seemingly on full display

Wade Wilson was convicted of the murders of Diane Ruiz (L) and Kristine Melton (R) who were slain in separate murders on the same night in 2019. Cape Coral Police Department

Interestingly, Wilson added most of his facial tattoos while in prison, after his 2019 arrest for the murders. According to WINK News, Wilson’s first mugshot in 2019 showed an ink-free face, though his neck was still very tatted with his “bred for war” inscription under his chin. A photo from a court appearance later that year revealed a massive swastika tattoo on his shaven head. In a 2023 mugshot, not much had changed besides the fact that Wilson grew out his hair again. But his court appearances earlier this year revealed drastic changes to his appearance. He added, while incarcerated, a small swastika under his right eye, the stitches across his mouth, the word “glory” on the right side of his face, an apparent shadow of a skull on the left side of his face, and the words “HA HA HA” under his left eye, to name a few of the new facial tattoos.

Wilson was busy in jail while awaiting trial. He was charged with being the “mastermind” of a failed escape attempt, in which he’s accused, along with his cellmate, of tampering with a window in his cell and setting up an escape car. He was also accused of being involved in a drug smuggling ring last year. 

Wade Wilson’s 2019 mugshot shows only neck tattoos. Lee County Sheriff’s Office
In a 2023 mugshot, the facial tattoos have yet to appear. Wilson had been incarcerated on murder charges since 2019. Lee County Sheriff’s Office

Another reason for the Wilson case’s attention lies in the devastating details of the murders – both of which occurred within hours of each other in October 2019. On Oct. 7, Wilson, then 25, met his first victim, Kristine Melton, 35, and her friend at a Florida bar. All three left together to go to another person’s house before they all went to Melton’s house the next morning. Once the friend had left the house that morning, Wilson strangled Melton to death while she was sleeping in her bed.

But Wilson did not stop there. He fled the scene in Melton’s car, and met 43-year-old Diane Ruiz shortly after. She was walking down the street when Wilson asked her for directions to a nearby school and convinced her to enter the stolen car. Ruiz eventually tried to leave the car, and that’s when Wilson attacked. He beat and strangled the engaged mother of two before pushing her out of the car – still alive – and running her over numerous times. According to testimony from Wilson’s biological father, Wilson was “excited” and called his biological father (he was adopted) and told him, the father testified in court, that he was trying to make Ruiz “look like spaghetti.”

Thousands of TikTok users marveled at Wade Wilson’s ‘coldness’ when the jury announces it had recommended a death sentence. TikTok

Thirteen days after he was convicted on two first-degree murder charges – along with four other charges – Wilson was deemed worthy of the death penalty by the jury given the “especially heinous, atrocious, and cruel” nature of his crimes. His defense lawyers had argued for mercy, claiming that Wilson was addicted to drugs and had serious mental health problems. But nine of 12 jurors voted for the death penalty for Melton’s murder, and 10 of 12 for Ruiz’s murder. In most states, a jury must unanimously agree on a death sentence. But last year, Governor DeSantis signed legislation that allows the death penalty should a jury vote by at least 8 to 4 to recommend it.

Despite the jury’s votes, Wilson did not seem particularly phased. Social media users have been abuzz about his reaction at sentencing, and they’ve also been intrigued by a mysterious hand signal Wilson can be seen making at the same court appearance.

A “Save Wade Wilson” campaign on TikTok has gotten thousands of likes. TikTok

“The hand gesture just means he is trying to notify a gang/group/organization inside that he wants to join or supports there cause,” one TikTok user wrote under a video analyzing Wilson’s hand motion.

Other users are less convinced.

“it’s not a prison signal. there’s a cop right in front of him that’s been cropped out and he waves at him that it’s time to go, and he does that to ask ‘fingerprinting?’ and the cop nods,” another TikToker wrote under the video.

Whether or not there’s reason to read much into the hand gesture remains to be seen. But that’s not the only reason he’s all over social media. Most inappropriately, TikTokers have even been lusting after the murderer.

“Wade Wilson is so fine” became a popular search query on TikTok. A TikTok petition to “save Wade Wilson” has gotten thousands of likes.

“Am I the only one who thinks he looks like, G Easy and Robert Downey Jr.?” one user commented under an edited video of Wilson.

A different user said Wilson looked like “a young Al Pacino.”

“Okay um Ik I should not but Damm 🥰 Ik I’m bad and need to stay single 😳😂😂,” another user wrote.

Some TikTok fans clung to Wilson’s protestations of innocence (he plead not guilty and gave a jailhouse interview to the local NBC station claiming he was “not that kind of person” to commit a murder).

Regardless of the concerning social media comments and the continued speculation around the details of the case, all we can do at present is wait to see how Wilson’s fate unfolds. On July 23, a judge will decide if he is going to uphold the jury’s recommendation – until then, Wilson will wait behind bars.

The New York Sun

© 2024 The New York Sun Company, LLC. All rights reserved.

Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. The material on this site is protected by copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used.

The New York Sun

Sign in or  create a free account

By continuing you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use