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Teen's killer sentenced to life in prison

January 04, 2000|By MARLO BARNHART

Despite an emotional appeal Tuesday from the victim's mother to give convicted murderer Michael Dwayne Williams a chance to turn his life around, Washington County Circuit Judge Kennedy Boone was not so forgiving.

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Boone sentenced Williams to life in prison for first-degree murder plus 10 years for use of a handgun in a crime of violence in the shooting death of 18-year-old Desmar Barnard Artis of Hagerstown last May.

"You had time to cool off but didn't ... you fired not one but four shots ... and you were stonecold sober," Boone said.

Boone told Williams that although Vivian Marshall has forgiven him, he doesn't forgive him.

"It's time to take out the trash," Boone said as he imposed the sentence.

The victim's father, Claude Artis, echoed the judge's outrage and pleaded for someone to stop the "flood of victims in the streets."


"We must put away Michael Williams," Claude Artis said. "If he still figures it was not his fault, he can do it again." At a two-day trial in November, Williams testified he shot Artis in self defense. He repeated that contention Tuesday.

"My heart goes out to you, ma'am, but my family is destroyed too," Williams said after listening to Marshall's tearful recounting of her anguish over her son's death.

"I never intended to kill anyone that night," Williams said. "But I didn't make (your son) do what he did to my sister that night."

Marshall told Williams she felt sorry for him.

"You thought murder was the punishment for disrespecting your sister," Marshall said. "What do you think your punishment should be for murdering my son?"

Witnesses testified that the May 19-20 fatal shooting at Franklin and Locust streets began over unwanted attention Artis had paid to Williams' 17-year-old sister, Earlene Williams, earlier on May 19.

"She told me a guy had disrespected her and I told her we'd go back and see what happened," Williams said, testifying he already had a loaded gun with him.

Interviewed by police after the shooting, Earlene Williams said her brother got the gun after she told him of the incident and then went looking for Artis.

At the trial, Earlene Williams denied telling police that her brother went back to get a gun.

Williams contended that Artis also had a gun that night and was the aggressor.

"I asked Earlene who did it and she pointed to a guy," Williams said in November. "I said nothing to him and he pulled out a gun."

Williams said he reached for Artis' gun with his left hand while pulling his own gun from his waistband with his right hand.

Shots were fired and Artis ran, but mortally wounded, he only got two blocks, where his body was found early May 20 at the rear of 60 East Ave.

Earlier Tuesday, prosecutors Gina Cirincion and Bill Hayden fought off defense attorney Stephen Sacks' motions for a new trial.

After the sentencing, Sacks submitted a written appeal of Williams' conviction to the court.

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