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Superior Court Judge Andy Spivey recently denied a motion requesting a new trial for Brandon Levi Williams following his 2017 murder conviction. As a result of the denial, the jury's verdict will stand and Williams will continue serving his life sentence for the death of 22-year-old Kavozia Walker.
The fatal shooting took place at the Georgian Wood Apartments in Douglas on February 19, 2016. One of the state's key pieces of evidence was security footage taken from the apartment complex on the night of the murder, with Walker's death being shown on the tape.
During the trial, the jury witnessed the victim "attempt to break up a fight" just seconds before his death, with Williams being seen walking to his vehicle to retrieve a handgun. Williams then took three steps toward Walker and fired the weapon at his neck. Walker was then shown pulling a firearm out of his pocket and attempting to fire back but was unsuccessful due to his gun getting jammed.
Walker succumbed to the gunshot wound seconds later.
After Williams was found guilty of Walker's murder, Judge Andy Spivey sentenced him to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Last month, the same judge heard arguments from Williams' attorney, David Walker of Macon, during a hearing in the Superior Court of Coffee County, claiming his sentence should be vacated.
During his arguments, the defense attorney claimed that the victim had threatened Williams before he was killed. The evidence presented during the trial showed Walker had left Williams' apartment and went downstairs to the parking lot. However, the defense attorney claimed there was a "discrepancy" on who left the apartment first, claiming Williams "removed himself and everyone followed him outside."
"He went to his car outside in the parking lot and was sitting in his vehicle to get his phone. He looks up and sees the victim walking toward his car," the defense attorney stated.
The attorney then compared the murder to the game of baseball by saying, "Ya know in baseball, three strikes, and you're out; this was the third time."
Williams fired the shots, according to his attorney, and said they were "justified" because he was in "reasonable fear" of his life following an alleged threat made by the victim earlier in the night.
The attorney also claimed the court "failed to exercise discretion at sentencing to consider a sentence of life in prison with the possibility of parole; that he suffered ineffective assistance of counsel by his defense telling him the only possible sentence he would receive upon conviction was life without parole," and the guilty verdict was "found contrary to evidence and the principles of justice and equity."
Several sentencing laws were mentioned during the hearing, with the defense telling the judge he "didn't use discretion even though he could have."
The sentencing laws mentioned by the defense were also brought up in Assistant District Attorney Ian Sansot's arguments, stating their language was "quite clear" and didn't apply to this case. Sansot told the judge, that by law, the only sentence Williams could have received based on prior convictions was life without the possibility of parole.
Williams' defense attorney who represented him in the murder trial, Josh Larkey, was accused by Williams' current counsel of misleading him into believing life without parole was the only sentence that could be given if he were to be convicted.
Larkey, who has been practicing law for 18 years, testified and corroborated Sansot's statements, saying that it was the only sentence allowed under Georgia law if a jury found him guilty of the charge.
Sansot also asked Larkey about a plea that was offered to Williams before the week of the proceeding. Larkey told the judge a plea was extended to life with parole, but Williams rejected the plea and wanted to take the case to trial.
"Your Honor didn't have discretion in this case based on the law, and your Honor was correct in this sentence,"Sansot stated. He also said the video footage showed Williams retrieve his firearm, "calmly walk-up" and shoot Walker. According to Sansot, Williams wasn't afraid of Walker and claimed he was "angry" that he had been "challenged."
Sansot said, "Therefore, he decided, I'm going to kill you because I'm mad."
"The jury didn't buy the self-defense story, as they shouldn't have," Sansot also stated.
On June 30, Judge Andy Spivey denied the motion for a new trial based on the evidence presented in the motion hearing.
According to the Georgia Department of Corrections, Williams has been in and out of Georgia prisons for a variety of convictions, including burglary aggravated assault, fleeing and eluding police, and possession of cocaine. He had been released from prison for a little over two years before he was arrested on the 2016 murder charge.
Williams is currently incarcerated at Hancock Prison and will continue his life sentence, without the possibility of parole.
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